Blog Archives

Communicating without a functioning language system: Implications for the role of language in mentalizing

A debated issue in the relationship between language and thought is how our linguistic abilities are involved in understanding the intentions of others (’mentalizing’). The results of both theoretical and empirical work have been used to argue that linguistic, and more specifically, grammatical, abilities are crucial in representing the mental states of others. Here we contribute to this debate by investigating how damage to the language system influences the generation and understanding of intentional communicative behaviors. Four patients with pervasive language difficulties (severe global or agrammatic aphasia) engaged in an experimentally controlled non-verbal communication paradigm, which required signaling and understanding a communicative message. Despite their profound language problems they were able to engage in recipient design as well as intention recognition, showing similar indicators of mentalizing as have been observed in the neurologically healthy population. Our results show that aspects of the ability to communicate remain present even when core capacities of the language system are dysfunctional.

from Neuropsychologia

Longitudinal pragmatic profile of a child with auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder

Human communication depends mostly on the conversion of ideas into language, involving the interaction among all its components – phonological, semantic, syntactic and pragmatic. Pragmatics studies the relationship between the social meaning of language and its semantic content, expressed by the communicative act itself. Auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder generates a dyssynchrony in nerve conduction, contributing to an impairment in speech perception. In hearing impaired children the language acquisition and development process can be stimulated with intervention. The aim of this study was to present a longitudinal follow-up of the use of pragmatic communication abilities by a child with auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder. The child received speech-language pathology therapy during three years in the Educational Audiology area. Video recordings of spontaneous conversation were made in the beginning of each year. These recordings were transcribed and analyzed according to the verbal communicative abilities protocol. In the initial recording, the most frequent ability presented by the child was the direct response; however these were extended to more complex responses during the intervention. In the last recording the child proposes new topics of discourse, produce narratives and arguments. The emergence of more sophisticated communication skills is justified by the language development, which benefits from language therapy with hearing impaired children. This suggests that, for the case study described, speech-language pathology therapy contributed to the improvement of pragmatic communication abilities.

from Revista de Sociedade Brasileira de Fonoaudiologia

Communication Outcomes in Audiologic Reporting

This study highlights the need for audiologists to critically evaluate the effectiveness of their communication with other health-care providers and demonstrates the need for evidence-based approaches for interpreting audiologic information and reporting audiologic information to others.

from the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology

Social perception of deafness in the educational environment: designing an evaluation questionnaire

This article analyzes the results of a pilot study of the application of a proposed questionnaire on social perception of deafness in the primary and secondary education setting. The first part of the article discusses the rationale for evaluating the integration of deaf girls and boys in mainstream schools and the suitability of the questionnaire for this purpose.

The second part describes the process of drafting the items covering aspects such as the quality of communication, social perceptions of deafness from the point of view of the hearing person, deaf students’ self-esteem and the degree of social integration they can attain.

from Revista de Logopedia, Foniatría y Audiología

Sentences recognition thresholds in normal hearing individuals in the presence of inciding noise from different angles

CONCLUSION: The following sentence recognition thresholds in the noise, in sound field, were obtained for these signal-to-noise ratios: 0° – 0° = -7.56 dB; -0º – 90º = -11.11 dB; -0º – 180° = -9.75 dB; 0º – 270º = -10.43 dB. The better thresholds were obtained with the incidence angles of 0º – 90º and 0º – 270º, followed by the 0º – 180º condition, and, finally, by the 0º – 0º condition. The most unfavorable hearing condition was that in which the noise was in the same incidence angle of the speech, in front of the evaluated subject.

from Revista de Sociedade Brasileira de Fonoaudiologia

Severe Traumatic Brain Injury, Frontal Lesions, and Social Aspects of Language Use: A Study of French-Speaking Adults

The purpose of this study was to gain insight into the social (pragmatic) aspects of language use by French-speaking individuals with frontal lesions following a severe traumatic brain injury. Eleven participants with traumatic brain injury performed tasks in three areas of communication: production (interview situation), comprehension (direct requests, conventional indirect requests, and hints), and metapragmatic knowledge. The results of the patients pointed out some strengths (turn-taking in production, and request comprehension, including hints and the speaker’s intention) and some weaknesses (topic maintenance in production and metapragmatic knowledge). The patients’ good comprehension of requests and their difficulty expressing metapragmatic knowledge suggests that they differ from controls in how they “explain the world”: their knowledge of the event sequence was not based on verbally expressible knowledge about the relationship between the structural characteristics of a request utterance and those of its social production context. The pragmatic skills of persons with traumatic brain injury seem to vary across tasks: these individuals have specific strengths and weaknesses in different domains. In addition, marked interindividual differences were noted among the patients: three of them had only one weak point, topic maintenance. These interindividual differences were not systematically linked to performance on executive function tests, but lesion unilaterality (right or left) seems to help preserve patients’ pragmatic and metapragmatic skills. The discussion stresses the need to take each patient’s strengths and weaknesses into account in designing remediation programs.

from the Journal of Communication Disorders

Communication changes in Parkinson’s disease

This article offers an overview of changes to speech and voice that arise in PD and the impact these underlying changes have on speech naturalness, intelligibility and participation in social life. Assessment and treatment are not a focus, but lessons for these areas are drawn from the description of the nature of overall changes.

from Revista de Logopedia, Foniatría y Audiología

Augmentative and alternative communication intervention in children with traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury

Children and youth who sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and/or spinal cord injury (SCI) may have temporary or permanent disabilities that affect their speech, language and communication abilities. Having a way to communicate can help reduce children’s confusion and anxiety, as well as enable them to participate more actively in the rehabilitation process and thus, recover from their injuries. In addition, effective communication with family, care staff, peers, teachers and friends is essential to long-term recovery and positive outcomes for children with TBI and SCI as they are integrated back into their communities. This article describes how rehabilitation teams can use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and assistive technologies (AT) to support the communication of children recovering from TBI and SCI over time.

<p><p>from the <a href=”Journal” _mce_href=””><em>Journal”>”><em>Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine</em></a></p>

Effects of AAC interventions on communication and language for young children with complex communication needs

Children with complex communication needs (CCN) who require augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) are at considerable risk in many aspects of their development: (a) functional communication skills, (b) speech development, (c) language development, (d) cognitive/conceptual development, (e) literacy development, (f) social participation, (g) access to education, and (h) overall quality of life. Early intervention is critical to address these areas and provide successful and functional outcomes. AAC offers the potential to enhance communication, language, and learning for children with significant communication disabilities. This paper provides an overview of the effects of AAC interventions on communication, behavior, language, and speech outcomes for young children with CCN for pediatricians and other medical and rehabilitation professionals. Future research directions to maximize the communication development of young children with CCN are also discussed.

<p><p>from the <a href=”Journal” _mce_href=””><em>Journal”>”><em>Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine</em></a></p>

Communication vulnerable patients in the pediatric ICU: Enhancing care through augmentative and alternative communication

Children in pediatric intensive care units (PICUs) may experience a broad range of motor, sensory, cognitive, and linguistic difficulties that make it difficult for them to communicate effectively. Being unable to communicate is emotionally frightening for children and can lead to an increase in sentinel events, medical errors and extended lengths of stay. Implementation of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) tools and strategies can address the communication needs of children in the PICU by enabling them to communicate their wants, needs and feelings to healthcare providers and family members and participate in their own care more productively.<p><p>from the <a href=”Journal” _mce_href=””><em>Journal”>”><em>Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine</em></a></p>

Neuropsycholinguistic findings in Crouzon syndrome: case report

The aim of this study was to relate the neuropsycholinguistic abilities of a male child with eigth years and two months, diagnosed with Crouzon syndrome. The characterization of neropsycholinguitic abilities was based on a interdisciplinary evaluation carried out by a speech-language pathologist, a neurologist, and a psychologist. Speech-language evaluation included the assessment of communication skills, oral (phonological, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic abilities) and written language. The neuropsychological assessment used the Wechsler Scale for Children. The neurological evaluation was focused on the results of magnetic resonance imaging. The subject also carried out an audiological evaluation, which showed mild conductive hearing loss. In the oral language assessment, phonological and semantic deficits were observed. Written language performance was also below the expected for the subject’s age, characterized mainly by writing and arithmetic deficits. The neuropsychological evaluation showed normal Intellectual Quotient. The results of the magnetic resonance imaging showed structural alterations of the central nervous system. Thus, the findings evidenced oral and written language deficits, and presence of structural alterations of the central nervous system.

from Revista de Sociedade Brasileira de Fonoaudiologia

Conversational gestures in autism spectrum disorders: Asynchrony but not decreased frequency

Conversational or “co-speech” gestures play an important role in communication, facilitating turntaking, providing visuospatial information, clarifying subtleties of emphasis, and other pragmatic cues. Consistent with other pragmatic language deficits, individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are said to produce fewer conversational gestures, as specified in many diagnostic measures. Surprisingly, while research shows fewer deictic gestures in young children with ASD, there is a little empirical evidence addressing other forms of gesture. The discrepancy between clinical and empirical observations may reflect impairments unrelated to frequency, such as gesture quality or integration with speech. Adolescents with high-functioning ASD (n=15), matched on age, gender, and IQ to 15 typically developing (TD) adolescents, completed a narrative task to assess the spontaneous production of speech and gesture. Naïve observers rated the stories for communicative quality. Overall, the ASD group’s stories were rated as less clear and engaging. Although utterance and gesture rates were comparable, the ASD group’s gestures were less closely synchronized with the co-occurring speech, relative to control participants. This gesture–speech synchrony specifically impacted communicative quality across participants. Furthermore, while story ratings were associated with gesture count in TD adolescents, no such relationship was observed in adolescents with ASD, suggesting that gestures do not amplify communication in this population. Quality ratings were, however, correlated with ASD symptom severity scores, such that participants with fewer ASD symptoms were rated as telling higher quality stories. Implications of these findings are discussed in terms of communication and neuropsychological functioning in ASD.

from Autism Research

Communication Partner Training in Aphasia: A Systematic Review

Evidence shows that communication partner training is effective in improving communication activities and/or participation of the communication partner and is probably effective in improving communication activities and/or participation of persons with chronic aphasia when they are interacting with trained communication partners. There is insufficient evidence to make recommendations related to the impact of partner training on persons with acute aphasia or the impact of training on language impairment, psychosocial adjustment, or quality of life for either the person with aphasia or the communication partner.

from Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Communication and its disorders: Definition and taxonomy from a phoniatric perspective

Conclusion: The presented taxonomy may contribute to the assessment and management of patients with communication disorders and represents a framework for clinical research in the different disciplines involved in the large field of communication science and disorders.

from Audiological Medicine

Communicative performance of children with Down syndrome in two different situations*

CONCLUSION: caregivers’ socioeconomic and educational levels might be considered risk factors for the development of the pragmatic aspects of language in children with DS and special attention should be given to these families during the speech-language therapeutic process. Independently of the interlocutor, these children were able to initiate and maintain communication, using communicative means and functions in a similar fashion.

from Pró-Fono Revista de Atualização Científica