Blog Archives

Facial expression recognition: Can preschoolers with cochlear implants and hearing aids catch it?

Tager-Flusberg and Sullivan (2000) presented a cognitive model of theory of mind (ToM), in which they thought ToM included two components––a social–perceptual component and a social–cognitive component. Facial expression recognition (FER) is an ability tapping the social–perceptual component. Previous findings suggested that normal hearing children did not demonstrate any advantage over those with cochlear implants (CI) or hearing aids (HA) in FER with age and gender matched. In these studies, the ages of the participants with CI or HA were over 7 years old. However, normal hearing preschoolers can accurately recognize basic facial expressions. Children’s early FER skills are essential to later successful social interactions. It is not clear whether preschoolers with CI or HA have problems in FER. Two experiments were conducted to compare the FER of preschoolers with CI or HA with normal hearing children (with age matched). The results of both experiments consistently showed that normal hearing children performed significantly better than those with CI or HA, suggesting to some extent that there was a delay in preschoolers with CI or HA on FER. No significant correlations (with age and type of participants controlled) were found between language ability (measured by PPVT) and FER in Experiment 2, to some extent validating a cognitive model of ToM in another view. The findings suggested that earlier rehabilitation for children with CI or HA should include not only language treatment but also emotional intervention, which would help them catch up with normal hearings as soon as possible.

from Research in Developmental Disabilities


Predicting Dyslexia at Age 11 from a Risk Index Questionnaire at Age 5

This study focused on predicting dyslexia in children ahead of formal literacy training. Because dyslexia is a constitutional impairment, risk factors should be seen in preschool. It was hypothesized that data gathered at age 5 using questions targeting the dyslexia endophenotype should be reliable and valid predictors of dyslexia at age 11. A questionnaire was given to caretakers of 120 5-year-old children, and a risk index score was calculated based on questions regarding health, laterality, motor skills, language, special needs education and heredity. An at-risk group (n = 25) and matched controls (n = 24) were followed until age 11, when a similar questionnaire and literacy tests were administered to the children who participated in the follow-up study (22 at risk and 20 control). Half of the at-risk children and two of the control children at age 5 were identified as having dyslexia at age 11 (8 girls and 5 boys). It is concluded that it is possible to identify children at the age of 5 who will have dyslexia at the age of 11 through a questionnaire approach. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

from Dyslexia

Facilitating Vocabulary Acquisition of Young English Language Learners

Additional benefits to using Spanish expansions in vocabulary instruction were observed. Future research should explore additional ways of enhancing the vocabulary growth of children with limited skills in both languages in order to support and strengthen the child’s first language and promote second language acquisition.

from Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools

Oral language disorders in preschool children with epilepsy: a speech-language screening

CONCLUSION: the results indicate that preschoolers with epilepsy present a predominance of oral language development delay, and that the male gender and partial seizure are risk factors for this age group.

from Pró-Fono Revista de Atualização Científica

A developmental shift from similar to language-specific strategies in verb acquisition: A comparison of English, Spanish, and Japanese

The world’s languages draw on a common set of event components for their verb systems. Yet, these components are differentially distributed across languages. At what age do children begin to use language-specific patterns to narrow possible verb meanings? English-, Japanese-, and Spanish-speaking adults, toddlers, and preschoolers were shown videos of an animated star performing a novel manner along a novel path paired with a language-appropriate nonsense verb. They were then asked to extend that verb to either the same manner or the same path as in training. Across languages, toddlers (2- and 2.5-year-olds) revealed a significant preference for interpreting the verb as a path verb. In preschool (3- and 5-year-olds) and adulthood, the participants displayed language-specific patterns of verb construal. These findings illuminate the way in which verb construal comes to reflect the properties of the input language.

from Cognition

The effect of aided AAC modeling on the expression of multi-symbol messages by preschoolers who use AAC

A single subject, multiple probe design across participants was used to evaluate the impact of using aided AAC modeling to support multi-symbol message production. Five preschoolers (three who used voice output communication systems, two who used non-electronic communication boards) participated in the study. Aided AAC models were provided by pointing to two symbols on the child’s aided AAC system and then providing a grammatically complete spoken model while engaging in play activities. Four of the five preschoolers learned to consistently produce multi-symbol messages; the fifth did not demonstrate consistent gains. The four preschoolers who met criterion all evidenced long-term use of symbol combinations and generalized use of symbol combinations to novel play routines. Results, clinical implications, and future research directions are discussed.

from AAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Do French–English Bilingual Children Gesture More Than Monolingual Children?

Abstract Previous studies have shown that bilingual adults use more gestures than English monolinguals. Because no study has compared the gestures of bilinguals and monolinguals in both languages, the high gesture rate could be due to transfer from a high gesture language or could result from the use of gesture to aid in linguistic access. In this study we tried to distinguish between those causes by comparing the gesture rate of 10 French–English bilingual preschoolers with both 10 French and 10 English monolinguals. All were between 4 and 6 years of age. The children were asked to watch a cartoon and tell the story back. The results showed the bilingual children gestured more than either group of monolinguals and at the same rate in both French and English. These results suggest that that the bilinguals were not gesturing because they were transferring the high gesture rate from one language to another. We argue that bilinguals might gesture more than monolinguals to help formulate their spoken message.

from the Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

The Effect of Tier 2 Intervention for Phonemic Awareness in a Response-to-Intervention Model in Low-Income Preschool Classrooms.

Conclusion: In a relatively short period of time, preschoolers’ phonemic awareness skills were increased through small-group Tier 2 intervention provided by teachers and SLPs. Findings indicate the potential of Tier 2 interventions to positively impact the future reading skills of children who are at risk for later reading difficulties. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

from Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools

The effect of summer vacation on bilingual preschoolers’ language development

The purpose of the investigation was to examine the developmental trajectories of bilingual preschoolers’ comprehension of Spanish and English and to determine whether a lengthy summer vacation impacted children’s development during the preschool years. Participants included 83 bilingual children who were followed over a 2-year period during which time children attended a federally funded preschool programme for children from low-income homes living in the US. Children were divided into two groups based on whether their scores on receptive language measures increased or decreased during their first year of Head Start. Results revealed that children whose scores increased experienced positive growth in their language comprehension in Spanish and English over the 2-year period, whereas children whose scores decreased during the first year continued to experience a negative developmental trajectory in their second year. Additionally, it was found that a lengthy summer vacation had a differential effect on children’s development. Summer vacation had a negative effect on the developmental trajectories of children who experienced gains in their comprehension of English and Spanish and a positive impact on children whose scores declined during the school year. Clinical implications suggest that children may require differential support during the school year and summer vacation depending upon their developmental trajectories during the first year in preschool.

from Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics

Co-speech gestures in a naming task: Developmental data

Few studies have explored the development of the gesture-speech system after the two-word stage. Aim of the present study is to examine developmental changes in speech and gesture use, in the context of a simple naming task. Fifty-one children (age range: 2;3-7;6) were divided into five age groups and requested to name pictures representing objects, actions, or characteristics. In the context of a naming task that requires only the production of a single word, children produced pointing and representational gestures together with spoken responses. Pointing was the most frequent gesture produced by all groups of children. Among representational gestures, action gestures were more frequent than size and shape gestures. In addition, gesture production declined as a function of increasing age and spoken lexical competence. Results are discussed in terms of the links between action, gesture, and language, and the ways in which these may change developmentally.

from Language and Cognitive Processes

Prevalence of Stuttering in African American Preschoolers

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

Purpose: This study sought to determine the prevalence of stuttering in African American (AA) two to five year olds as compared to same age European Americans (EA).

Method: A total of 3,164 children participated, 2,223 AAs and 941 EAs. Data were collected using a three-pronged approach that included investigators’ individual interaction with each child, teacher identification, and parent identification of stuttering.

Results: No statistically significant difference for stuttering was found between AA and EA children. Using the investigator and teacher method of identification, the prevalence of stuttering was 2.52% for the entire sample. For both racial groups, boys exhibited a higher prevalence of stuttering than girls. Of the three predictors (age, race, sex) of stuttering, only sex was a significant predictor.

Conclusions: AA two to five year olds are not overrepresented in the stuttering population for this age group. When data are combined for both racial groups, the prevalence of stuttering is 2.52%. More boys than girls stuttered in this sample of preschoolers.