Auditory processing deficits in children with reading and language impairments: Can they (and should they) be treated?

ArticleinCognition 107(3):946-77 · July 2008with 625 Reads 
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Abstract
Sixty-five children with specific reading disability (SRD), 25 children with specific language impairment (SLI), and 37 age-matched controls were tested for their frequency discrimination, rapid auditory processing, vowel discrimination, and consonant-vowel discrimination. Subgroups of children with SRD or SLI produced abnormal frequency discrimination (42%), rapid auditory processing (12%), vowel discrimination (23%), or consonant-vowel discrimination (18%) thresholds for their age. Twenty-eight of these children trained on a programme that targeted their specific auditory processing deficit for 6 weeks. Twenty-five of these 28 trainees produced normal thresholds for their targeted processing skill after training. These gains were not explained by gains in auditory attention, in the ability to do psychophysical tasks in general, or by test-retest effects. The 25 successful trainees also produced significantly higher scores on spoken language and spelling tests after training. However, an untrained control group showed test-retest effects on the same tests. These results suggest that auditory processing deficits can be treated successfully in children with SRD and SLI but that this does not help them acquire new reading, spelling, or spoken language skills.

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  • ... However, the theoretical question regarding the causal relationship between performance on ATP tasks and speech perception among aging adults remains unanswered, as studies using ATP training to improve aging adults' speech perception are scarce. There are, however, studies using ATP training showing improvement in phonological and reading abilities among readers with dyslexia (e.g., Fostick, Eshcoly, Shtibelman, Nehemia, & Levi, 2014;McArthur, Ellis, Atkinson, & Coltheart, 2008;Strehlow et al., 2006;Veuillet, Magnan, Ecalle, Thai-Van, & Collet, 2007). These studies provide both tools for improving phonological and reading abilities, and evidence regarding a causal relationship between performance on ATP tasks and phonological and reading abilities. ...
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    Purpose Difficulty in understanding spoken speech is a common complaint among aging adults, even when hearing impairment is absent. Correlational studies point to a relationship between age, auditory temporal processing (ATP), and speech perception but cannot demonstrate causality unlike training studies. In the current study, we test (a) the causal relationship between a spatial–temporal ATP task (temporal order judgment [TOJ]) and speech perception among aging adults using a training design and (b) whether improvement in aging adult speech perception is accompanied by improved self-efficacy. Method Eighty-two participants aged 60–83 years were randomly assigned to a group receiving (a) ATP training (TOJ) over 14 days, (b) non-ATP training (intensity discrimination) over 14 days, or (c) no training. Results The data showed that TOJ training elicited improvement in all speech perception tests, which was accompanied by increased self-efficacy. Neither improvement in speech perception nor self-efficacy was evident following non-ATP training or no training. Conclusions There was no generalization of the improvement resulting from TOJ training to intensity discrimination or generalization of improvement resulting from intensity discrimination training to speech perception. These findings imply that the effect of TOJ training on speech perception is specific and such improvement is not simply the product of generally improved auditory perception. It provides support for the idea that temporal properties of speech are indeed crucial for speech perception. Clinically, the findings suggest that aging adults can be trained to improve their speech perception, specifically through computer-based auditory training, and this may improve perceived self-efficacy.
  • ... Too many practitioners are failing to properly understand the core features of reading disorders, which are basically the skills that require remediation, versus the comorbidities that themselves may be the legitimate targets of different forms of intervention. For example, in a well-controlled study, McArthur, Ellis, Atkinson, & Coltheart, 2008), showed that training in auditory discrimination improved auditory processing, but there was no transfer of training to reading skills. However, auditory interventions such as Fast ForWord are still marketed for dyslexia even though a systematic meta-analytic review has shown that there is no evidence for the effectiveness of the program (Strong, Torgerson, Torgerson, & Hulme, 2011). ...
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    This paper outlines the nature and characteristics of children's reading disorders and considers current ideas about the definitions of dyslexia and reading comprehension impairment. We argue that reading skills show continuous variations within the population, making the diagnostic “cut-offs” used in the identification of reading disorders essentially arbitrary. We argue that there is a considerable overlap between children's reading and language disorders and discuss methods for the early identification of children's reading disorders. We argue that interventions for reading disorders need to be evidence based, and review the evidence for the effectiveness of current approaches to intervention. We conclude by considering the extent to which learning to read in different languages may depend on some universal cognitive principles, as well as processes that may differ between alphabetic and nonalphabetic writing systems.
  • ... Specific Reading Impairment; SRI and Specific Language Impairment; SLI). Many studies indeed reported auditory processing deficit in children and adults with language disorder [6], [7], [8], [9]. According to them, the deficit in auditory processing could lead to language developmental impairment. ...
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    This study aimed at investigating the development of central auditory processes and their links with language skills. Seventy nine typically developing children divided up in five levels groups were recruited among primary schools. The development of central auditory processes was assessed with three main tasks. A lateralization task, a discrimination task and a central masking task were presented. These tasks were selected as each of them may correspond to important auditory processes underlying different speech abilities, and thus playing a role on its development. Verbal skills were evaluated on three levels: comprehension, vocabulary (lexical or verbal IQ), and phonological awareness. Results confirmed a developmental effect both on auditory and verbal skills. In addition, vocabulary and phonological awareness performances correlated with auditory skills, highlighting links between central auditory processing and language development.
  • ... Valentine , Hedrick und Swanson (2006) a ¨ußern sich ebenfalls eher skeptisch nach einem 6-wöchigen Training mit dem in den USA populären Computerprogramm Fast ForWord zur sequenziellen auditiven Analyse (Ordnungsschwellentraining und computertechnisch veränderte Sprache) an 26 Kindern im Alter von sieben bis zehn Jahren. McArthur et al. (2008) trainierten Kinder mit spezifischer Lesestörung, Kinder mit spezifischer SES sowie Kontrollkinder des gleichen Alters u ¨ber sechs Wochen in der Diskrimination von frequenzunterschiedlichen sprachfreien Tönen, Vokalen bzw. Konsonanten- Vokalen – je nach individueller Schwäche. ...
  • ... Concluyeron que en el 64% de los experimentos los individuos con dislexia muestran dificultades en la percepción de las consonantes oclusivas. En varios de estos estudios se usaron como estímulos pares de sílabas que se diferencian en el punto de articulación (p.e., /ba/-/da/), observándose un rendimiento inferior en la percepción de este contraste fonético en el grupo de niños con dislexia frente a los del grupo control (De Gelder, & Vroomen, 1998;Godfrey, Syrdal-Lasky, Millay, & Knox, 1981;McArthur, Ellis, Atkinson, & Coltheart, 2008;Paul, Bott, Heim,Wienbruch, & Elbert, 2006;Reed, 1989;Steffens, Eilers, Gross-Glenn, & Jallad, 1992;Werker, & Tees, 1987). También, los resultados de Maassen, Groenen, Crul, Assman-Hulsmans, and Gabreels (2001) revelaron que los niños con dislexia presentan déficit en las habilidades de discriminación del punto de articulación y de la sonoridad (p.e., /pa/-/ba/). ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Numerosos estudios muestran que un déficit fonol6gico causa la dislexia evolutiva, pero el origen de este déficit continúa siendo un tema controvertido. Este estudio examina si el déficit perceptivo fonol6gico de los niños con dislexia puede ser explicado por un déficit de procesamiento temporal mediante un diseño que controla las demandas de la tarea y la complejidad lingüística y temporal de los contrastes entre sonidos del habla. Trece niños con dislexia y déficit fonol6gico (9-11 años de edad) y 13 niños sin dificultades en lectura emparejados en edad fueron evaluados en tareas de juicio de orden temporal (JOT) y en tareas de discriminación igual-diferente (I-D). Las tareas se basan en contrastes de las sílabas /ba/ -/da/ y /fa/-/la/. Analizamos los efectos de la complejidad de los estímulos (similar vs. no similar) y de la tarea (tarea de juicio de orden temporal vs. discriminaci6n). Los niños con dislexia muestran peor rendimiento que los niños sin dificultades en lectura en ambos pares de sílabas. El rendimiento de los niños con dislexia en las tareas JOT fue significativamente inferior que el de los niños del grupo control pero no encontramos diferencias entre los grupos en las tareas I-D. Los hallazgos son discutidos en términos de problemas de procesamiento temporal en la percepci6n del habla de los niños con dislexia.
  • ... However, others have argued against a causal relationship. For example, McArthur Ellis, Atkinson and Coltheart (2008) report that, while it is possible to improve performance on auditory processing tasks with training, this improvement does not lead to increased reading and spelling skills. Marshall, Snowling and Bailey (2001) argue that, while some dyslexic children show deficits in temporal processing, these deficits are not associated with phonological processing problems. ...
    Article
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    Tel. 0121 204 4052. We are immensely grateful for the support and participation of the staff and pupils at the schools. This study was supported by the ESRC, RES-000-22-1401, The Leverhulme Trust and The British Academy. Thanks to the students who helped in conducting the research, especially Heather Ball, Vousden for their advice on analysis and presentation.
  • ... Since then, researchers have found differences between individuals with and without reading or language impairment in terms of ability to detect frequency changes in a sound [7][8], ERP (event-related potential) responses to tones differing in rise times [25], performance on tasks involving rise time and temporal order of sounds [41], frequency discrimination [24], [27], [36]. ...
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    Relations among linguistic auditory processing, nonlinguistic auditory processing, spelling ability, and spelling strategy choice were examined. Sixty-three undergraduate students completed measures of auditory processing (one involving distinguishing similar tones, one involving distinguishing similar phonemes, and one involving selecting appropriate spellings for individual phonemes). Participants also completed a modified version of a standardized spelling test, and a secondary spelling test with retrospective strategy reports. Once testing was completed, participants were divided into phonological versus nonphonological spellers on the basis of the number of words they spelled using phonological strategies only. Results indicated a) moderate to strong positive correlations among the different auditory processing tasks in terms of reaction time, but not accuracy levels, and b) weak to moderate positive correlations between measures of linguistic auditory processing (phoneme distinction and phoneme spelling choice in the presence of foils) and spelling ability for phonological spellers, but not for nonphonological spellers. These results suggest a possible explanation for past contradictory research on auditory processing and spelling, which has been divided in terms of whether or not disabled spellers seemed to have poorer auditory processing than did typically developing spellers, and suggest implications for teaching spelling to children with good versus poor auditory processing abilities.
  • ... While it is unlikely that the improvements were due to a practice effect, evidence suggests that memorization of materials or training effects are possible, especially when they that are not designed to be administered repeatedly over short periods (e.g. McArthur, Ellis, Atkinson, & Coltheart, 2008 ). Given that the control group demonstrated no significant changes on their spatial stream segregation ability throughout the study, a practice effect is unlikely. ...
  • ... Frequency discrimination deficits are relatively reliably associated with language and literacy impairments [4,[9][10][11][12][13], but it is still not clear that they are causal to them. Arguments for a causal relationship are weakened by two observations. ...
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    Efficient auditory processing is hypothesized to support language and literacy development. However, behavioral tasks used to assess this hypothesis need to be robust to non-auditory specific individual differences. This study compared frequency discrimination abilities in a heterogeneous sample of adults using two different psychoacoustic task designs, referred to here as: 2I_6A_X and 3I_2AFC designs. The role of individual differences in nonverbal IQ (NVIQ), socioeconomic status (SES) and musical experience in predicting frequency discrimination thresholds on each task were assessed using multiple regression analyses. The 2I_6A_X task was more cognitively demanding and hence more susceptible to differences specifically in SES and musical training. Performance on this task did not, however, relate to nonword repetition ability (a measure of language learning capacity). The 3I_2AFC task, by contrast, was only susceptible to musical training. Moreover, thresholds measured using it predicted some variance in nonword repetition performance. This design thus seems suitable for use in studies addressing questions regarding the role of auditory processing in supporting language and literacy development.
  • ... The issue of communication skills development in children with DLD mainly covers exploration of information and communication skills (Гриншпун & Селиверстов, 1988;Конопляста, 2008;Тарасун, 1998;Тищенко, 2013;Шеремет, 2007;Leonard, 1998;Bishop & Norbury, 2008;McArthur et al., 2008;Dollaghan et al., 1995;Bavin et al., 2005 et al.). Special features in applying perceptive skills by the children with speech disorders can be found in the works by Дмитриева (1997), Леханова (2008), Тихонова (2008) ;Spackman, Fujiki & Brinton (2006); interactive -in the researches of Павлова (2003) and Федосеева (1999). ...
  • ... A critical consideration in learning research is the contribution of test-retest effects [38,53]. In this experiment, the Control group showed an improvement on the SUN test, which suggests a testretest effect. ...
  • ... Ultimately, the only way to test developmental causal hypotheses is experimentally -through intervention studies. There are many examples of group-based treatment studies that test causal hypotheses (e.g., [66,67]), but we would argue that treatment designs within individual cases and case series also have the potential to be powerful [20,68]. Here, the cognitive profile of cases of developmental disorder is characterised in detail at baseline, and a proposed developmental cause introduced as a targeted intervention. ...
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    The discipline of cognitive neuropsychology has been important for informing theories of cognition and describing the nature of acquired cognitive disorders, but its applicability in a developmental context has been questioned. Here, we revisit this issue, asking whether the cognitive neuropsychological approach can be helpful for exploring the nature and causes of developmental disorders and, if so, how. We outline the key features of the cognitive neuropsychological approach, and then consider how some of the major challenges to this approach from a developmental perspective might be met. In doing so, we distinguish between challenges to the methods of cognitive neuropsychology and those facing its deeper conceptual underpinnings. We conclude that the detailed investigation of patterns of both associations and dissociations, and across both developmental and acquired cases, can assist in describing the cognitive deficits within developmental disorders and in delineating possible causal pathways to their acquisition.
  • ... Previous electrophysiological evidence demonstrates that children with SLI show deficiencies in spatially selective attention while attending to one story and ignoring another (Stevens et al., 2006). The attentional deficits observed in children with SLI extend beyond the realm of language into simple attention and rapid processing tasks in both the visual and auditory modalities, suggesting a domain-general attentional deficit (Asbjørnsen and Bryden, 1998; McArthur et al., 2008; Sperling et al., 2005). Similar attention deficits, which are related to phonological encoding abilities, have been reported in children with dyslexia (Facoetti et al., 2010; Hornickel et al., 2012; Lallier et al., 2010). ...
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    Event-related potential (ERP) evidence demonstrates that preschool-aged children selectively attend to informative moments such as word onsets during speech perception. Although this observation indicates a role for attention in language processing, it is unclear whether this type of attention is part of basic speech perception mechanisms, higher-level language skills, or general cognitive abilities. The current study examined these possibilities by measuring ERPs from 5-year-old children listening to a narrative containing attention probes presented before, during, and after word onsets as well as at random control times. Children also completed behavioral tests assessing verbal and nonverbal skills. Probes presented after word onsets elicited a more negative ERP response beginning around 100 ms after probe onset than control probes, indicating increased attention to word-initial segments. Crucially, the magnitude of this difference was correlated with performance on verbal tasks, but showed no relationship to nonverbal measures. More specifically, ERP attention effects were most strongly correlated with performance on a complex metalinguistic task involving grammaticality judgments. These results demonstrate that effective allocation of attention during speech perception supports higher-level, controlled language processing in children by allowing them to focus on relevant information at individual word and complex sentence levels.
  • ... The WN and FDN training tasks shared the same type of masking noise with the SMN test, suggesting that listening in noise contributed to transfer of learning between tasks. A critical consideration in learning research is the contribution of test-retest effects [38,53]. In this experiment, the Control group showed an improvement on the SUN test, which suggests a test– retest effect. ...
  • ... One source of difficulty is the inconsistency of findings across different studies. Although many studies reported significant correlations between reading-related skills and auditory skills (e.g., [1,2,[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17]), others failed to find such correlations [18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25]. More specifically, whereas in several studies, pitch processing was found to account for significant variance in reading skills (e.g., [1,9,17]), this was not the case in other studies (e.g., [25,26]). ...
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    The relationships between auditory processing and reading-related skills remain poorly understood despite intensive research. Here we focus on the potential role of musical experience as a confounding factor. Specifically we ask whether the pattern of correlations between auditory and reading related skills differ between children with different amounts of musical experience. Third grade children with various degrees of musical experience were tested on a battery of auditory processing and reading related tasks. Very poor auditory thresholds and poor memory skills were abundant only among children with no musical education. In this population, indices of auditory processing (frequency and interval discrimination thresholds) were significantly correlated with and accounted for up to 13% of the variance in reading related skills. Among children with more than one year of musical training, auditory processing indices were better, yet reading related skills were not correlated with them. A potential interpretation for the reduction in the correlations might be that auditory and reading-related skills improve at different rates as a function of musical training. Participants' previous musical training, which is typically ignored in studies assessing the relations between auditory and reading related skills, should be considered. Very poor auditory and memory skills are rare among children with even a short period of musical training, suggesting musical training could have an impact on both. The lack of correlation in the musically trained population suggests that a short period of musical training does not enhance reading related skills of individuals with within-normal auditory processing skills. Further studies are required to determine whether the associations between musical training, auditory processing and memory are indeed causal or whether children with poor auditory and memory skills are less likely to study music and if so, why this is the case.
  • ... It is noteworthy that although children were asked to do five 30-min sessions for 8 weeks for each training program (40 sessions in total), based on previous training studies, we expected that this request would prompt children to manage 4 sessions per week (32 sessions in total) given unexpected illnesses, holidays, busy schedules, and the occasional "bad day" (McArthur, Ellis, Atkinson, & Coltheart, 2008). Our expectation proved correct since children in each group reported 31 to 36 training sessions for each program. ...
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    The aims of this study were to (a) compare sight word training and phonics training in children with dyslexia, and (b) determine if different orders of sight word and phonics training have different effects on the reading skills of children with dyslexia. One group of children (n = 36) did 8 weeks of phonics training (reading via grapheme-phoneme correspondence rules) and then 8 weeks of sight word training (reading irregular words as a whole), one group did the reverse (n = 36), and one group did phonics and sight word training simultaneously for two 8-week periods (n = 32). We measured the effects of phonics and sight word training on sight word reading (trained irregular word reading accuracy, untrained irregular word reading accuracy), phonics reading (nonword reading accuracy, nonword reading fluency), and general reading (word reading fluency, reading comprehension). Sight word training led to significant gains in sight word reading measures that were larger than gains made from phonics training, phonics training led to statistically significant gains in a phonics reading measure that were larger than gains made from sight word training, and both types of training led to significant gains in general reading that were similar in size. Training phonics before sight words had a slight advantage over the reverse order. We discuss the clinical implications of these findings for improving the treatment and assessment of children with dyslexia.
  • ... A study by Given, Wasserman, Chari, Beattie, and Eden (2008) produced similar outcomes in children identified on the basis of difficulties in reading. The strongest evidence that improving an auditory deficit will have no impact on a language disorder emerges from the study by McArthur, Ellis, Atkinson, and Coltheart (2008). McArthur and colleagues explicitly trained a group of children with poor auditory skills and dyslexia and / or SLI on a variety of auditory tasks. ...
  • ... For example, many researchers have demonstrated group deficits in auditory processing in children with dyslexia and preschool children who go on to be dyslexic (Boets et al., 2011;Hamalainen et al., 2013), though others have argued that these deficits are not causally linked to reading and spelling (e.g. Marshall, Snowling, & Bailey, 2001;McArthur, Ellis, Atkinson, & Coltheart, 2008). Plakas, van Zuijen, van Leeuwen, Thomson, and van der Leij (2013) found that while children with a genetic risk of dyslexia were impaired on an auditory processing task (amplitude rise time), poor readers were not significantly worse on the task than high risk good readers. ...
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    Background: It is well established that phonological awareness, print knowledge and rapid naming predict later reading difficulties. However, additional auditory, visual and motor difficulties have also been observed in dyslexic children. It is examined to what extent these difficulties can be used to predict later literacy difficulties. Method: An unselected sample of 267 children at school entry completed a wide battery of tasks associated with dyslexia. Their reading was tested 2, 3 and 4 years later and poor readers were identified (n = 42). Logistic regression and multiple case study approaches were used to examine the predictive validity of different tasks. Results: As expected, print knowledge, verbal short-term memory, phonological awareness and rapid naming were good predictors of later poor reading. Deficits in visual search and in auditory processing were also present in a large minority of the poor readers. Almost all poor readers showed deficits in at least one area at school entry, but there was no single deficit that characterised the majority of poor readers. Conclusions: Results are in line with Pennington's () multiple deficits view of dyslexia. They indicate that the causes of poor reading outcome are multiple, interacting and probabilistic, rather than deterministic.
  • ... Also, some studies show that the children with central auditory processing disorder considerably progress in speech perception in noise, after working with FFW computer auditory training software, which is one of the most famous auditory training programs. Since, speech perception in noise is one of the aspects of auditory processing, we can say that these programs can improve the central auditory processing and the results of this research are compatible with those of other studies in this field [33][34][35]. ...
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    Background and Aim: Auditory processing disorder and dyslexia have been reported by many studies as having high comorbidity. The purpose of the study was to investigate the effectiveness of central auditory processing rehabilitation program on speech reception in noise and dichotic listening in dyslexic students. The research was quasi-experimental, including a pre-test, posttest and a control group.
  • ... Dyslexia can affect people with normal or high cognitive development (Lyytinen et al., 2008), who have no perceptible sensory disturbances and are receiving an adequate education (McArthur, Ellis, Atkinson and Coltheart, 2008). ...
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    Through this article we want to shed light on the Apps in Spanish for children with dyslexia. We also present research on developing literacy using fifteen tablet applications selected for working on literacy and mathematics in children with dyslexia. We have used an ad-hoc instrument that analyses the main elements of the apps, their pedagogical approach, game resources and approach to dyslexia. The fifteen apps selected are in Spanish and are recommended by dyslexia experts. The results that we emphasize are that no application has a global approach; most apps consider only reading fluency or automated word recognition, the two are not integrated in the set of activities.
  • ... Children are asked to read a set of 40 irregular words, which are presented individually on cue cards, and continue until 5 consecutive words are read incorrectly. We used the same list of words at each testing point, as there is no available alternate form and there is evidence that there are unlikely to be test-retest effects(McArthur, Ellis, Atkinson, & Coltheart, 2008). ...
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    Theories of reading development generally agree that, in addition to phonological decoding, some kind of orthographic processing skill underlies the ability to learn to read words. However, there is a lack of clarity as to which aspect(s) of orthographic processing are key in reading development. We test here whether this is orthographic knowledge and/or orthographic learning. Whereas orthographic knowledge has been argued to reflect a child’s existing store of orthographic representations, orthographic learning is concerned with the ability to form these representations. In a longitudinal study of second- and third-grade students, we evaluate the relations between these two aspects of orthographic processing and word-reading outcomes. The results of our analyses show that variance captured by orthographic knowledge overlaps with that of word reading, to the point that they form a single latent word-reading factor. In contrast, orthographic learning is distinctive from this factor. Further, structural equation modeling demonstrates that early orthographic learning was related to gains in word reading skills. We discuss the implications of these findings for theories of word-reading development.
  • ... Given the general plasticity of the higher visual areas such as the cortical areas underlying phonological processing (Castro-Caldas et al., 1998;Dehaene eta l, 2010;Petersson et al., 2007) and how even habitual reading direction can impact on visuo-spatial attention (Kermani et al., 2018), training regimes targeting visual attention may be particularly effective in improving overall reading performance. This may explain the fact that while training in auditory processing as in Fast ForWord may help improve phonological processing (Temple et al., 2003), but not reading performance (McArthur et al., 2008;Pokorni et al., 2004), visual attention training on a specific action videogame without any concomitant phonological training significantly improved reading scores in Italian children with dyslexia (Franceschini et al., 2013(Franceschini et al., , 2015. Franceschini et al. (2013) also found that not only did the action video games led to enhanced spatial and temporal visual attention scores, but the attentional improvements explained the majority of the unique variance in reading scores as well. ...
    Article
    After decades of finding a range of cognitive functions both in visual and phonological domains that correlate with reading performance, there are in recent years attempts to solve the causation versus correlation dilemma in finding a core deficit in developmental dyslexia (DD). Thus, longitudinal studies that aim to predict reading difficulties from studies done in pre-reading years and reading-level matched studies that try to factor out the effect due to lack of reading in DD cohorts, have helped identify two possible candidates to be added to the classical phonological suspect. One is a deficit in visuo-spatial attention that underpins our ability to selectively attend to individual objects in a cluttered world, which is fundamental in being able to identify letters and words in a text such as the one you are reading now. The other is an impairment in synchronised neuronal oscillations that may be crucial in mediating many cortical functions and also communication between brain regions. The latter may be a general deficit affecting many areas of the brain and thus underlie the wide-ranging co-morbidities in DD. However, that neuronal synchrony is a critical mediator in visual attention, brings the two suggestions into one hypothesis of a core deficit that triggers in some young children a great reluctance to read, putting them at a handicap in comparison to other children. This deprives them of the advantage that normal readers have in development of those visual and phonological processes that are needed for reading. This insight into aetiology may help in developing new remediation strategies, specifically aimed at improving visual attention and neuronal synchrony.
  • ... FD is the ability to detect frequency (pitch) differences between tones or in sounds. It is one of the various AP deficits linked to poor reading in individuals with SRD (Baldeweg, Richardson, Watkins, Foale, & Gruzelier, 1999;Banai & Ahissar, 2004;De Weirdt, 1988;Halliday & Bishop, 2006;McAnally & Stein, 1996;McArthur, Ellis, Atkinson, & Coltheart, 2008). Additionally, FD is also one of the most common AP deficits found in children with SRD. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Purpose: To explore the potential differential effect of auditory frequency discrimination (FD) difficulty on a range of reading and cognitive processes in children with Auditory Processing Disorders (APD). Methods: Sixteen children with APD (aged 7;5 to 10;2), eight with FD difficulty (FD-POOR group), and eight with age-appropriate FD (FD-TYPICAL group) were tested on measures of non-lexical and lexical reading, phonological processing (phonological awareness, phonological memory and rapid automatized naming), receptive language, auditory sustained attention, and executive function. Results: The results showed that children with poor FD experienced difficulty with tasks associated with non-lexical reading and phonological awareness. There were no significant differences between the groups on lexical reading, phonological memory and rapid automatized naming. Children with FD difficulty also showed poorer executive function. Specifically, they showed greater lag in reaction times (slower reaction times) on incongruent verses congruent trials on a modified Simon Task, indicating a larger Simon Effect. This suggests that these children were more affected by incongruency and showed poorer attention control. This finding was in the absence of significant differences in receptive language and auditory sustained attention. Conclusion: These findings support the notion that FD difficulty often co-exists with reading difficulty in children with APD. Extending the previous findings, the present results suggest that FD pertained largely with specific aspects of reading, namely the non-lexical reading process and phonological awareness. These findings are consistent with the current models of reading that non-lexical reading and phonological awareness are more dependent on AP abilities. Additionally, poorer executive function in children with poor FD support further investigation into the association between executive function, FD, and reading in children with APD.
  • ... The group We then asked whether any of the children in the MMHL group would meet current criteria for having clinically significant oral or written language difficulties. To do this, we adopted the criteria set out by McArthur et al. (McArthur, Ellis, Atkinson, & Coltheart, 2008), whereby to be classified as having a reading impairment, children had to obtain a standard score that was > 1 SD below the normative mean on at least one of the two reading tests (word reading and pseudoword decoding), but score at least within the average range (standard score ≤ 1 SD below the normative mean) on at least three out of four key spoken language tests (nonword repetition, receptive vocabulary, receptive grammar, recalling sentences). To be classified as having an oral language impairment, children had to obtain a standard score of > 1 SD below the normative mean on at least two of these four key spoken language tests, regardless of their performance on the reading measures. ...
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    Purpose: The goal of this study was to examine language development and factors related to language impairments in children with mild to moderate sensorineural hearing loss (MMHL). Method: Ninety children, aged 8-16 years (46 children with MMHL; 44 aged-matched controls), were administered a battery of standardized language assessments, including measures of phonological processing, receptive and expressive vocabulary and grammar, word and nonword reading, and parental report of communication skills. Group differences were examined after controlling for nonverbal ability. Results: Children with MMHL performed as well as controls on receptive vocabulary and word and nonword reading. They also performed within normal limits, albeit significantly worse than controls, on expressive vocabulary, and on receptive and expressive grammar, and worse than both controls and standardized norms on phonological processing and parental report of communication skills. However, there was considerable variation in performance, with 26% showing evidence of clinically significant oral or written language impairments. Poor performance was not linked to severity of hearing loss nor age of diagnosis. Rather, outcomes were related to nonverbal ability, maternal education, and presence/absence of family history of language problems. Conclusions: Clinically significant language impairments are not an inevitable consequence of MMHL. Risk factors appear to include lower maternal education and family history of language problems, whereas nonverbal ability may constitute a protective factor.
  • ... Inaccurate phonological representations, in turn, affect processing, storage, and access to phonological information, and hamper the building-up of phoneme-grapheme-correspondences (Elbro & Jensen, 2005;Swan & Goswami, 1997). Concerning intervention, studies proved that phoneme perception is ameliorated by training (Bischof et al., 2002;McArthur, Ellis, Atkinson, & Coltheart, 2008;Strehlow et al., 2006), and that phoneme perception training transfers to phonological awareness (Moore, Rosenberg, & Coleman, 2005;Thomson, Leong, & Goswami, 2013). Furthermore, training that combines phoneme perception with phonological awareness or letter-sound-matching showed transfer effects to reading (e.g., Ecalle, Magnan, Bouchafa, & Gombert, 2009;Gonzalez, Espinel, & Rosquete, 2002). ...
    Chapter
    Intact phonological processing abilities are of major importance for successful acquisition of literacy skills. Training studies confirmed that programs which combine phonological training with systematic instruction on letter-sound-relationships are effective in fostering reading and spelling skills. Based on this evidence, we developed the computer-based training program Lautarium for German-speaking primary school children experiencing reading and spelling difficulties. This chapter provides an overview of the structure and contents of Lautarium, and summarizes the empirical evidence concerning the effectiveness of Lautarium-training in children with poor literacy skills. Additionally, we describe a study on the effects of Lautarium-training in two groups of second-graders with relatively low class-level reading skills. Group 1 performed Lautarium-training for a period of 8 weeks at the beginning of second grade, while Group 2 received regular classroom instruction. A significant training effect was found for spelling, but not for phonological awareness or reading. Since only a few children finished the training within the 8-week period, Lautarium was modified in order to allow faster completion of the exercises. Group 2 trained with the modified version at the end of second grade. Subsequent tests revealed stronger improvements in reading, spelling, and phonological awareness in Group 2 when compared to Group 1.
  • ... Other tasks that have been investigated in relation to reading disorder include frequency discrimination, frequency modulation detection thresholds, amplitude modulation thresholds, processing of sound rise time and sound duration, and gap duration (Hämäläinen et al. 2013). Multiple studies have shown that children and adults with reading disorders have significant frequency discrimination deficits based on behavioral evidence (Goswami et al. 2002;Halliday & Bishop 2006;Heath et al. 2006;Mcanally & Stein 1996;McArthur et al. 2008). In some studies, however, frequency discrimination did not differ significantly between adults with reading disorders and controls (Amitay et al. 2002;Walker et al. 2002). ...
    Article
    Objectives: Previous research shows that children with reading disorders perform poorly on auditory processing (AP) tasks. Correlational studies have also shown significant associations between some AP tasks and word and nonword reading. There is less clear evidence for AP contributions to spelling and passage reading. The aim of this research was to extend current knowledge by investigating the association between a range of AP measures used clinically and children's reading of words, nonwords, and passages, as well as word spelling. Design: Regression analyses were conducted on data from 90 children 7 to 13 years of age (58 males) with reported listening and/or reading concerns. All children had normal hearing sensitivity and were tested on AP tasks including the frequency pattern test (FPT), dichotic digits test, random gap detection test, and the masking level difference. Reading tasks included word, nonword, and passage reading. Phonologic processing, core language skills, nonverbal intelligence, memory, and attention were also measured. Results: All multiregression analyses were fixed order with age and gender, nonverbal intelligence, core language, phoneme manipulation, and digits backward scores included in the model before AP measures. FPT was the only AP task that accounted for significant unique variance in word/nonword reading and nonword spelling, but not passage reading. Conclusions: The findings from this study failed to show an association between many clinically used AP measures and children's reading and spelling outcomes. Nevertheless, they reiterate the importance of evaluating FPT in children with word reading disorders. The findings justify further investigation into the role of this test when diagnosing children with reading or spelling disorders.
  • ... In diesbezüglichen Studien erwiesen sich die Kapazität des phonologischen Arbeitsgedächtnisses sowie die Geschwindigkeit des Abrufs phonologischer Wortrepräsentationen bislang als kaum trainierbar (Holmes, Gathercole, & Dunning, 2009;Kirby et Effekte des computerbasierten Trainingsprogramms "Lautarium" 129 al., 2010). Bei der Phonemwahrnehmung ließen sich dagegen signifikante Leistungsverbesserungen durch Training erzielen (Bischof et al., 2002;McArthur, Ellis, Atkinson, & Coltheart, 2008;Strehlow et al., 2006), die auch auf die phonologische Bewusstheit transferierten (Moore, Rosenberg, & Coleman, 2005; Thomson,Leong,& Goswami,20l3). Bezüglich des Transfers auf Lese-und Rechtschreibleistungen sind die Befunde jedoch inkonsistent. ...
    Chapter
    Ausgehend von Forschungserkenntnissen zur Bedeutung phonologischer Verarbeitungsfunktionen für den Schriftspracherwerb und zur Effizienz von Trainingsprogrammen für Kinder mit Lese-Rechtschreibstörung (LRS) wurde ein computerbasiertes Trainingsprogramm für Grundschulkinder entwickelt, welches Übungen zur phonologischen Informationsverarbeitung mit einer systematischen Vermittlung der Graphem-Phonem-Korrespondenzen und Übungen zum Lesen und Schreiben lautgetreuer Wörter kombiniert. In zwei Studien wurden die Wirkungen des Trainings mit dem Programm auf die phonologischen Fähigkeiten und die Lese- und Rechtschreibleistungen bei Drittklässlern mit LRS (Studie 1) bzw. bei unselektierten Erstklässlern (Studie 2) untersucht. In diesem Beitrag wird zunächst ein Überblick über den theoretischen Hintergrund und den Aufbau des Trainingsprogramms gegeben. Anschließend werden die Ergebnisse der beiden Evaluationsstudien berichtet.
  • ... In this study, children with word reading difficulties performed significantly more poorly, on average, on the FD, FPT, DDdT, and LiSN-S tasks compared to children with typical reading skills. These results are consistent with previous research conducted in children with word reading difficulties for FD (Halliday and Bishop, 2006a;McArthur et al., 2008;Goswami et al., 2010), FPT (Sharma et al., 2006(Sharma et al., , 2009, GIN (Zaidan and Baran, 2013), dichotic listening (Moncrieff and Black, 2007), and speech in noise percept (Bradlow et al., 2003;Ziegler et al., 2009) (which has been measured differentially across the literature). ...
    Article
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    Objectives To document the auditory processing, visual attention, digit memory, phonological processing, and receptive language abilities of individual children with identified word reading difficulties.DesignTwenty-five children with word reading difficulties and 28 control children with good word reading skills participated. All children were aged between 8 and 11 years, with normal hearing sensitivity and typical non-verbal intelligence. Both groups of children completed a test battery designed to assess their auditory processing, visual attention, digit memory, phonological processing, and receptive language.ResultsWhen compared to children who were good readers, children with word reading difficulties obtained significantly lower average scores on tests of auditory processing, including the frequency pattern test, gaps in noise, frequency discrimination, Dichotic Digit difference Test, and Listening in Spatialized Noise. The two groups did not differ on the discrimination measures of sinusoidal amplitude modulation or iterated rippled noise. The results from children with word reading difficulties showed that 5 children (20%) had comorbid deficits in auditory processing, visual attention, and backward digit memory; whereas 12 children (48%) had comorbid auditory processing and visual attention deficits only, and 2 children (8%) had comorbid deficits in auditory processing and digit memory; the remaining children had only auditory processing, visual attention, or digit memory deficits.Conclusion The current study highlights the general co-existence of auditory processing, memory, and visual attention deficits in children with word reading difficulties. It is also noteworthy, however, that only one fifth of the current cohort had deficits across all measured tasks. Hence, our results also show the significant individual variability inherent in children with word reading difficulties.
  • Article
    The aim of this study was to determine if phonological processing deficits in specific reading disability (SRD) and specific language impairment (SLI) are the same or different. In four separate analyses, a different combination of reading and spoken language measures was used to divide 73 children into three subgroups: poor readers with average spoken language (SRD), poor readers with poor spoken language (SRD + SLI) and average readers with poor spoken language (SLI). These groups were compared on five phonological processing measures. The SRD group had deficits in neural representations of phonemes, phoneme discrimination, phoneme awareness and rapid naming. The SRD + SLI group had more severe deficits than the SRD group on half of these measures, as well as phonological short‐term memory. Children with SLI were free from phonological processing deficits. Thus, phonological processing deficits were the same or different in SRD and SLI, depending on how SRD and SLI were defined, and how phonological processing was measured.
  • Article
    Background Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) in children has been reported and discussed in the clinical and research literature for many years yet there remains poor agreement on diagnostic criteria, the relationship between APD and cognitive skills, and the importance of assessing underlying neural integrity. Purpose The present study used a repeated measures design to examine the relationship between a clinical APD diagnosisachieved with behavioral tests used in many clinics, cognitive abilities measured with standardized tests of intelligence, academic achievement, language, phonology, memory and attention and measures of auditory neural integrity as measured with acoustic reflex thresholds and auditory brainstem responses. Method Participants were 63 children, 7-17 years of age,who reported listening difficulties in spite of normal hearing thresholds. Parents/guardianscompleted surveys about the child's auditory and attention behavior while children completed an audiologic examination that included 5 behavioral tests of auditory processing ability. Standardized tests that examined intelligence, academic achievement, language, phonology, memory, and attention; and objective tests auditory function included crossed and uncrossed acoustic reflex thresholds and auditory brainstem responses(ABR) were also administered to each child. Results Forty of the children received an APD diagnosis based on the 5 behavioral tests and 23 did not. The groups of children performed similarly on intelligence measures but the children with an APD diagnosis tended to perform more poorly on other cognitive measures. Auditory brainstem responses and acoustic reflex thresholds were often abnormal in both groups of children. Summary : Results of this study suggest that a purely behavioral test battery may be insufficient to accurately identify all children with auditory processing disorders. Physiologic test measures, including acoustic reflex and auditory brainstem response tests, are important indicators of auditory function and may be the only indication of a problem. The results also suggest that performance on behavioral APD tests may be strongly influenced by the child's language levels.
  • Article
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    Background Inter‐professional collaboration (IPC) has been recommended for many years as a means by which the needs of children with developmental language disorders (DLD) can be met at school. However, effective IPC remains difficult to achieve and our knowledge of how to support it is limited. A shared understanding between those involved has been identified as critical to IPC. Aims To examine the literature, as one source of data, for evidence of a shared understanding between the fields of speech and language therapy (SLT) and education about children with DLD and how such needs can best be met at school. Methods & Procedures An integrative review of the literature was undertaken. A systematic search of the published, peer‐reviewed literature (between 2006 and 2016) was conducted for empirical and theoretical papers and a manual search was undertaken to obtain a representative sample of policy/professional guidelines. A total of 81 papers across SLT and education were included in the review. The papers were scrutinized using a qualitative content analysis. Main Contribution Although some commonality between perspectives in the literature was identified, differences between the fields dominated. These differences related to how DLD is conceptualized; how children's needs are assessed; which outcomes are prioritized and how best these outcomes can be achieved. We also found differences about what constitutes useful knowledge to guide practice. We suggest that the nature of the differences we identified in the literature may have negative implications for practitioners wishing to collaborate to meet the needs of children with DLD in school. The perspectives of practising SLTs and teachers need to be sought to determine whether the findings from the literature reflect dilemmas in practice. Conclusions Effective IPC is essential to meet the needs of children with DLD in school; yet, it remains difficult to achieve. Our review of the literature across SLT and education indicates evidence of a lack of shared understanding about DLD. If these differences are also evident in practice, then a conceptual model to support IPC may be warranted.
  • Article
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    One of the leading theories for dyslexia suggests that it is the result of a difficulty in auditory temporal processing (ATP). This theory, as well as others, is supported by studies showing group differences and correlation between phonological awareness and ATP. However, these studies do not provide causal relationship. In the current study the authors aimed to test causal relationship between ATP and phonological awareness by comparing the performance of dyslexic and normal reader students in phonological awareness tasks before and after a short-term (5-day) training in either temporal processing (dichotic temporal order judgment; TOJ), nontemporal processing (intensity discrimination), or no training. TOJ training resulted in significant reduction of TOJ threshold and increase in phonological awareness tasks' scores. Intensity discrimination training resulted in a decrease of intensity discrimination threshold, but with no change in phonological awareness tasks. Those who had no training, had no change in TOJ and intensity discrimination thresholds, as well as in the phonological awareness tasks. These results show that (a) a short-term training in temporal processing with no other perceptual cues for adult dyslexic and normal readers can be efficient in improving their phonological awareness; and (b) phonological awareness (dis) ability has causal relationship to ATP. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Auditory frequency discrimination has been used as an index of sensory processing in developmental language disorders such as dyslexia, where group differences have often been interpreted as evidence for a basic deficit in auditory processing that underpins and constrains individual variability in the development of phonological skills. Here, we conducted a meta‐analysis to evaluate the cumulative evidence for group differences in frequency discrimination and to explore the impact of some potential moderator variables that could contribute to variability in effect‐size estimations across studies. Our analyses revealed mean effect sizes for group differences on frequency discrimination tasks on the order of three‐quarters of a standard deviation, but in the presence of substantial inter‐study variability in their magnitude. Moderator variable analyses indicated that factors related both to participant variability on behavioural and cognitive variables associated with the dyslexia phenotype, and to variability in the task design, contributed to differences in the magnitude of effect size across studies. The apparently complex pattern of results was compounded by the lack of concurrent, standardised metrics of cognitive and reading component skills across the constituent studies. Differences on sensory processing tasks are often reported in studies of developmental disorders, but these need to be more carefully interpreted in the context of non‐sensory factors, which may explain significant inter‐ and intra‐group variance in the dependent measure of interest.
  • Chapter
    This chapter discusses best practices in providing supports for students diagnosed with reading (dyslexia), writing (dysgraphia), and spelling (dysorthographia) deficits. It examines some impacts of these and associated conditions on learning. The recommended strategies for leveraging learning for the identified population are all evidence-based. Per the author, early intervention is key to providing students with learning disabilities a meaningful learning experience. An early intervention involves the use of multiple measures to diagnose a student's present level of performance primarily with a view to finding strengths (Strengths can be used to mitigate deficits) and learning gaps, utilizing evidence-based systematic instruction delivered with treatment fidelity, and an ongoing progress monitoring.
  • Article
    Purpose Theoretical models and substantial research have proposed that general auditory sensitivity is a developmental foundation for speech perception and language acquisition. Nonetheless, controversies exist about the effectiveness of general auditory training in improving speech and language skills. This research investigated the relationships among general auditory sensitivity, phonemic speech perception, and word-level speech perception via the examination of pitch and lexical tone perception in children. Method Forty-eight typically developing 4- to 6-year-old Cantonese-speaking children were tested on the discrimination of the pitch patterns of lexical tones in synthetic stimuli, discrimination of naturally produced lexical tones, and identification of lexical tone in familiar words. Results The findings revealed that accurate lexical tone discrimination and identification did not necessarily entail the accurate discrimination of nonlinguistic stimuli that followed the pitch levels and pitch shapes of lexical tones. Although pitch discrimination and tone discrimination abilities were strongly correlated, accuracy in pitch discrimination was lower than that in tone discrimination, and nonspeech pitch discrimination ability did not precede linguistic tone discrimination in the developmental trajectory. Conclusions Contradicting the theoretical models, the findings of this study suggest that general auditory sensitivity and speech perception may not be causally or hierarchically related. The finding that accuracy in pitch discrimination is lower than that in tone discrimination suggests that comparable nonlinguistic auditory perceptual ability may not be necessary for accurate speech perception and language learning. The results cast doubt on the use of nonlinguistic auditory perceptual training to improve children's speech, language, and literacy abilities.
  • Article
    This study evaluated the claim that auditory processing deficits are a cause of reading and language difficulties. We report a longitudinal study of 245 children at family risk of dyslexia, children with preschool language impairments, and control children. Children with language impairments had poorer frequency-discrimination thresholds than controls at 5.5 years, but children at family risk of dyslexia did not. A model assessing longitudinal relationships among frequency discrimination, reading, language, and executive function skills showed that frequency discrimination was predicted by executive skills but was not a longitudinal predictor of reading or language skills. Our findings contradict the hypothesis that frequency discrimination is causally related to dyslexia or language impairment and suggest that individuals at risk for dyslexia or who have language impairments may perform poorly on auditory processing tasks because of comorbid attentional difficulties.
  • Article
    This article synthesizes literature that compares the academic, cognitive, and behavioral performance of children with and without reading disabilities (RD). Forty-eight studies met the criteria for the meta-analysis, yielding 735 effect sizes (ESs) with an overall weighted ES of 0.98. Small to high ESs in favor of children without RD emerged on measures of cognition (rapid naming [ES=0.89], phonological awareness [ES=1.00], verbal working memory [ES=0.79], short-term memory [ES=0.56], visual-spatial memory [ES=0.48], and executive processing [ES=0.67]), academic achievement (pseudoword reading [ES=1.85], math [ES=1.20], vocabulary [ES=0.83], spelling [ES=1.25], and writing [ES=1.20]), and behavior skills (ES=0.80). Hierarchical linear modeling indicated that specific cognitive process measures (verbal working memory, visual-spatial memory, executive processing, and short-term memory) and intelligence measures (general and verbal intelligence) significantly moderated overall group effect size differences. Overall, the results supported the assumption that cognitive deficits in children with RD are persistent. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
  • Article
    Central auditory processing disorders (CAPD) can affect children and adults of all ages due to a wide variety of causes. CAPD is a neurobiologic deficit in the central auditory nervous system (CANS) that affects those mechanisms that underlie fundamental auditory perception, including localization and lateralization; discrimination of speech and non-speech sounds; auditory pattern recognition; temporal aspects of audition, including integration, resolution, ordering, and masking; and auditory performance with competing and/or degraded acoustic signals (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2005a, b). Although it is recognized that central auditory dysfunction may coexist with other disorders, CAPD is conceptualized as a sensory-based auditory disorder. Administration of behavioral and/or electrophysiologic audiologic tests that have been shown to be sensitive and specific to dysfunction of the CANS is critical for a proper diagnosis of CAPD, in addition to assessments and collaboration with a multidisciplinary team. Intervention recommendations for CAPD diagnosis are based on the demonstrated auditory processing deficits and related listening and related complaints. This chapter provides an overview of current definitions and conceptualizations, methods of diagnosis of, and intervention for, CAPD. The chapter culminates with a case study illustrating pre- and posttreatment behavioral and electrophysiologic diagnostic findings. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    The present article reviews experimental studies of auditory and speech perception in individuals with reading difficulties. Although the auditory temporal processing hypothesis proposed by Tallal and her colleagues (e.g., Tallal, 1980) has been the basis for many studies, other researchers have reported inconsistent results. Other types of auditory perception, including perception of the frequency, intensity, and duration of sounds, have also been investigated, although, for these, hypotheses have not been well established. In addition, categorical perception and speech-in-noise perception tasks have been used frequently to investigate speech perception in individuals with reading difficulties. However, findings on the correlation of speech perception deficits with reading difficulties have also been inconsistent. Thus, effects of perceptual deficits on reading difficulties remain unclear. Potential new research directions are proposed, as are important issues that should be addressed in future studies in order to improve the understanding of the relation between auditory and speech perception and reading difficulties.
  • Article
    Auditory training (AT) is an important component of rehabilitation for patients with central auditory processing disorder (CAPD). The present article identifies and describes aspects of AT as they relate to applications in this population. A description of the types of auditory processes along with information on relevant AT protocols that can be used to address these specific deficits is included. Characteristics and principles of effective AT procedures also are detailed in light of research that reflects on their value. Finally, research investigating AT in populations who show CAPD or present with auditory complaints is reported. Although efficacy data in this area are still emerging, current findings support the use of AT for treatment of auditory difficulties.
  • Article
    Despite normal hearing thresholds in pure-tone audiometry, 0.5–1% of children have difficulty understanding what they hear. An auditory processing disorder (APD) can be assumed, which should be clarified and treated. In patients with hearing loss, this must first be compensated or resolved. Only hereafter can a suspected APD be confirmed or excluded. Diagnosis of APD requires that a clear discrepancy between the child’s performance in individual auditory functions and other cognitive abilities be demonstrated. Combination of therapeutical modalities is considered particularly more beneficial in APD patients than a single modality. Treatment modalities should consider linguistic and cognitive processes (top–down), e.g., metacognitive knowledge of learning strategies or vocabulary expansion, but also address underlying auditory deficits (bottom–up). Almost 50% of children with APD also have a language development disorder requiring treatment and/or dyslexia. Therefore, each therapeutic intervention for a child with APD must be individually adapted according to the diagnosed impairments. Musical training can improve phonologic and reading abilities. Changes and adaptations in the classroom are helpful to support the weak auditory system of children with APD. Architectural planning of classrooms can be a means of ensuring that direct sound is masked by as little diffuse sound as possible. For example, acoustic ceiling tiles are suitable for reducing reverberant and diffuse sound.
  • Article
    Auditory processing and spoken word recognition difficulties have been observed in Specific Language Impairment (SLI), raising the possibility that auditory perceptual deficits disrupt word recognition and, in turn, phonological processing and oral language. In this study, fifty-seven kindergarten children with SLI and fifty-three language-typical age-matched controls were assessed with a speech-gating task to measure spoken word recognition, psychophysical tasks to measure auditory Frequency Modulation (FM) detection and Frequency Discrimination (FD), and standardized psychometric tests of phonological processing and oral language. As a group, children with SLI took significantly longer than language-typical controls to recognize words with high neighborhood density, perhaps reflecting subpar phonological representations. FM, but not FD, was significantly worse in SLI. However, while both poorer speech-gating performance and poorer auditory thresholds (FM) were evident in SLI, spoken word recognition did not mediate any relation between auditory perception and either phonological processing or oral language.
  • Chapter
    Disorders of speech, language and social communication are common developmental disorders that greatly increase a child's risk for academic underachievement, social disadvantage and poorer employment prospects. In addition, children presenting for psychiatric evaluation are known to have high rates of previously unsuspected language and social communication disorder. Thus, it is crucial for clinicians to be alert to the types of communication difficulties children may experience, in order to facilitate appropriate referrals and support. This chapter provides an overview of the key features of each of these three disorders and common approaches to intervention. Language disorders will be reviewed in detail with regard to putative biological causes and cognitive profiles. Social (pragmatic) communication disorder is a new disorder introduced in DSM-5. Key features of this disorder and challenges for diagnosis are outlined. Language is particularly vulnerable to atypical development and as a consequence, high rates of co-morbidity are observed with a number of neurodevelopmental disorders.
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    Overview The overall goal of case management for school-aged children with an auditory processing disorder (APD) is to improve communication , learning, and quality of life for the child and his/ her family. This chapter discusses the management of APD within the context of the International Classification of Functioning , Disability and Health for Children and Youth — ICF-CY framework (WHO, 2001, 2007), in order to understand the effect of APD on a child's ability to communicate and participate in everyday life and the contribution of environmental and personal contextual factors to the difficulties experienced by a child with APD. The ICF stresses health and functioning, rather than disability and hence provides a somewhat different focus to traditional approaches to APD. This chapter provides guidelines on how the ICF-CY model can be used to formulate management plans for a child with APD. Appropriate diagnosis is key to the success of treatment and hence this aspect of APD management is considered first.
  • Article
    Numerous studies show that a phonological deficit causes dyslexia, but the origin of this deficit remains a controversial issue. The present study examines whether perceptual phonological deficit in children with dyslexia can be explained by a temporal processing deficit with a design that controls the demands of the task and linguistic complexity and temporal of contrasts between speech sounds. Thirteen children with dyslexia and phonological deficits (9-11 years) and 13 age-matched normal readers were assessed on temporal order judgment tasks (TOJ) and same-different discrimination tasks (S-D). The tasks are based on contrasts of the syllables / ba / -/da / and / fa/-/ la /. We analyze the effects of the complexity of the stimuli (similar versus no similar) and the task (temporal order judgment tasks versus discrimination tasks). The children with dyslexia showed lower performance than the control group in both pairs of syllables. The performance of children with dyslexia in the TOJ tasks was significantly lower than the control group but no differences between groups in the S-D tasks were found. The findings are discussed in terms of temporal processing problems in speech perception in children with dyslexia.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Objective: To systematically review the peer-reviewed literature on electrophysiological outcomes following auditory training (AT) in school-age children with (central) auditory processing disorder ([C]APD). Design: A systematic review. Study sample: Searches of 16 electronic databases yielded four studies involving school-aged children whose auditory processing deficits had been confirmed in a manner consistent with ASHA (2005) and AAA (2010) and compared to a treated and/or an untreated control group before and after AT. A further three studies were identified with one lacking a control group and two measuring auditory processing in a manner not consistent with ASHA (2005) and AAA (2010) . Results: There is limited evidence that AT leads to measurable electrophysiological changes in children with auditory processing deficits. Conclusion: The evidence base is too small and weak to provide clear guidance on the use of electrophysiological outcomes as a measure of AT outcomes in children with auditory processing problems. The currently limited data can only be used to suggest that click-evoked AMLR and tone-burst evoked auditory P300 might be more likely to detect such outcomes in children diagnosed with (C)APD, and that speech-evoked ALLR might be more likely to detect phonological processing changes in children without a specific diagnosis of (C)APD.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    This article summarizes the papers in this issue of AJSLP that report the results of Phase I and Phase II clinical trials of Fast ForWord (FFW). Our primary purpose is to integrate the findings of these studies as they relate to the implications for future Phase III clinical trial studies. We discuss the replication of earlier findings by independent researchers, the uniqueness of FFW, new findings from FFW with respect to literacy and intervention settings, and finally, the underlying theoretical framework of FFW.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    This exploratory study was designed to evaluate functional language changes during and after treatment with language intervention software. Two children with language impairments received Fast ForWord (FFW; Scientific Learning Corporation, 1997), and two other children received a bundle of intervention programs published by Laureate Learning Systems (LLS). The children received intervention for 1 hour and 40 minutes per day for 20 days (4 weeks). Treatment was delivered according to a multiple-probe design in which one child was enrolled in Fast FFW immediately after a baseline phase. Another child remained in an extended baseline phase before beginning FFW. The design was replicated for the bundle of LLS programs. The children with extended baselines were identical twins. Progress was measured by gains on the Oral and Written Language scales (OWLS) and by visual and mathematical examination of trends for language sample measures. All four children made clinically significant gains (posttest scores outside the 95% confidence interval of the pretest scores) on the OWLS. Two children who received the LLS software and one child who received FFW software made clinically significant gains on mean length of utterance in morphemes (MLU), but only one child, who received treatment with the LLS software, had fewer grammatical errors after treatment. The three children with improved MLU also produced a higher proportion of utterances with mazes. Measures of language content (percent of response errors) and language use (percentage of assertive utterances) were not informative due to high variability and floor effects. The similarity of the treatment effects (especially in the case of the identical twins) was surprising since FFW and the bundle of LLS programs targeted different levels of language, used different types of auditory stimuli, and were designed to promote different kinds of learning.
  • Article
    TWO patterns of appropriately filtered acoustic white noise can be binaurally fused by the human auditory system to extract pitch and location information that is not available to either ear alone. This phenomenon is called dichotic pitch. Here we present a new method for generating more effective and useful dichotic pitch stimuli. These novel stimuli allow the psychophysical assessment of dichotic pitch detection thresholds. We show that dichotic pitch detection is significantly impaired in individuals with developmental dyslexia, as compared to average readers. These results suggest a low-level auditory deficit associated with dyslexia and also demonstrate the potential value of our new dichotic pitch stimuli for assessment of auditory processing.
  • Article
    Fourteen twin pairs, aged 8 to 10 years, were tested 3 times over 12 months; they included 11 children with language impairment (LI), 11 control children matched on nonverbal ability and age, and 6 co-twins who did not meet criteria for LI or control status. Thresholds were estimated for detecting a brief backward-masked tone (BM), detection of frequency modulation (FM), and pitch discrimination using temporal cues (Δf0). Both BM and FM thresholds improved with training, and by the 2nd test session, FM thresholds were in the adult range. There were marked individual differences on BM and Δf0, and, for both tasks, performance correlated with Tallal's Auditory Repetition Task administered 2 years previously. However, no auditory measure gave significant differences between LI and control groups; performance was influenced more by nonverbal than language ability. Some children did have a stable pattern of poor performance on certain auditory tasks, but their good FM detection raised questions about whether processing of auditory temporal information is abnormal. We found no evidence that auditory deficits are a necessary or sufficient cause of language impairments.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Researchers have found that training in phonemic awareness (PA), a fundamental element for reading acquisition, is effective in varying degrees, depending on characteristics of the audience. In this study, the authors explored the relative effectiveness of 3 programs—Fast ForWord, Earobics, and LiPS. The authors randomly assigned 60 students with language and reading deficits to 1 of 3 interventions. Students received three 1-hr daily intervention sessions during a 20-day summer program conducted by a large school district. Measures of PA, language-, and reading-related skills were collected and analyzed. Earobics and LiPS were associated with gains on PA measures 6 weeks after intervention. No group effects were found on language or reading measures.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    An adaptive procedure for rapid and efficient psychophysicaltesting is described. PEST (Parameter Estimation by Sequential Testing) was designed with maximally efficient trial‐by‐trial sequential decisions at each stimulus level, in a sequence which tends to converge on a selected target level. An appendix introduces an approach to measuring test efficiency as applied to psychophysicaltesting problems.
  • Article
    Tested the effectiveness of music activities designed to expand auditory perception and improve language skills in 36 learning-disabled children. Ss were divided into 3 groups that were treated by prescriptive music therapy, language development activities, and a combination of both. The music therapy group showed the greatest mean difference between pre- and posttest scores, but ANOVA showed no statistical differences among the 3 groups. (17 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Article
    This paper provides normative data for Australian school children on a modified version of the Castles Word/Non-Word Tests (Castles, 1993). The tests were designed to isolate the lexical and nonlexical reading procedures. Data were collected from 298 school children in Perth and combined with data provided by Coltheart and Leahy (1996) for 420 school children in Sydney. Norms for the Sydney sample have been published previously (Coltheart & Leahy, 1996). Norms for the combined sample are reported in 12-month age bands from 7 to 12 years, in the form of normalised standard scores. Issues surrounding subtyping research in dyslexia are reviewed, and a way to subclassify research samples using the provided norms is outlined and evaluated.
  • Article
    In addition to an intrinsic difficulty in reading and spelling, one of the defining characteristics of dyslexia is an enduring and pervasive difficulty in phonological coding, such that dyslexic readers find it particularly challenging to process and manipulate the constituent sounds of a language. Coexistent with this finding is the evidence that some dyslexic readers also demonstrate subtle sensory coding problems in the visual and auditory domains. Few theories have been proposed to unite these different findings within a coherent model of reading. Here the evidence for visual, auditory and phonological coding problems in dyslexia is briefly reviewed, and a hypothesis is proposed for how adequate early sensory coding may be intrinsic to phonological awareness and subsequent reading ability. In this hypothesis, a cortical network is assumed that incorporates the visual, auditory and phonological skills of reading. The visual sub-component of the network is mediated by the dorsal visual pathway, which is responsible for the accurate spatial encoding of letters, words and text. The auditory component of the network in pre-readers is intrinsic to the development of phonological sensitivity, and then grapheme-phoneme assimilation as reading skills develop. In this hypothesis, some of the symptoms of dyslexia may result from subtle problems in the encoding of both visual and auditory information and their role in maintaining the synchronicity of the reading network.
  • Article
    We explored the effects of Fast ForWord (FFW) training on reading and spoken language skills in children with difficulties in phonemic awareness and word identification. Gains were examined both immediately after treatment and over a period of two years. In the short term, children who received FFW training were compared to children who received Orton Gillingham (OG) training. The FFW group was also compared to a matched longitudinal control group (LC); all participants in the FFW and LC groups received similar multisensory structured language instruction over two academic years. The FFW and OG groups made similar gains in phonemic awareness. However, the children who received FFW training did not show significant gains in word identification or word attack whereas the children who received OG training made significant gains in word attack. Immediately after treatment, the FFW group showed significant gains in speaking and syntax, but these gains were not maintained over two years. The FFW group did not differ significantly from the LC group in any areas over the two years. Children in both groups made significant progress in phonemic awareness and reading.
  • Article
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    Selective impairments have been found in the ability of language impaired (LI) children to process the rapidly changing temporal cues critical to language comprehension and production. Performance on temporal perception and production tasks alone enable correct identification of 98% of LI from normal children. These findings suggest that auditory temporal processing (ATP) deficits might serve as a behavioral “marker” of language impairment and could be useful in early identification. Measures of perceptual-cognitive abilities in infancy such as habituation and recognition memory have been shown to be particularly sensitive to language delays. Specific links have been demonstrated between these measures and language comprehension. We hypothesize that a critical mechanism contributing to “speed of processing,” as measured by rate and amount of habituation and novelty preference on recognition memory tests, may be temporal processing efficiency in infancy. Auditory temporal processing thresholds were examined in two groups of infants from 6 to 10 months of age: infants from families with no known history of LI and infants from families with a positive history of LI. Infants from families with a positive history of LI had significantly lower mean thresholds than control infants. Habituation, ATP thresholds, and recognition memory were found to be significantly associated suggesting that they may be tapping similar processes.
  • Article
    This study evaluated the efficacy of the computer-assisted intervention program known as Fast ForWord Language in a sample of children in grades 1 through 6 referred for poor academic performance. Fast ForWord Language combines intensive training in multiple receptive language skills with adaptive acoustic waveform lengthening and amplification to remediate deficits in auditory temporal processing that are purported to be the root cause of developmental language disorders and many reading disabilities. Students in the treatment group were matched with students in a no-contact control group and all were assessed in four domains before and immediately after the 4–8 week intervention: (a) oral language competency; (b) phonological processing abilities; (c) basic reading skills; and (d) classroom behavior. Except for performance on a measure of expressive oral language, on which children in the treatment group achieved significantly greater gains than those in the control group, changes in test scores from pretest to posttest were equivalent for the two groups. However, when the lowest performing students in each group were compared, the children in the treatment group demonstrated superior gains in expressive oral language, syllable and sound blending, and reduction in problem behaviors. Thus, Fast ForWord Language had a positive, albeit limited impact on the oral language skills, academic performance, and social behaviors of some children in this study. However, due to methodological weaknesses and limited treatment fidelity, the study results must be interpreted cautiously.
  • Article
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    Twenty 9- to 12-year-olds with specific language impairment (SLI) were compared with 18 age-matched controls on auditory discrimination tasks, using a three-interval, two-alternative forced-choice format. The first task used minimal word pairs in silence and in noise. Nonspeech tasks involved discriminating direction of frequency glides and had two versions: (a) the glide moved from 500 to 1500 Hz, and duration was adaptively decreased; (b) all glides lasted 250 ms, and the frequency range was adaptively modified until a threshold was reached. Control and SLI groups did not differ on the glide tasks. Around half the children in both groups accurately discriminated 20 ms glides. There was a small but significant group difference on the speech-in-noise task, and scores were weakly related to literacy level. Perception of brief, transient, nonspeech stimuli is not abnormal in the majority of school-aged children with SLI.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Developmental dyslexia and specific language impairment (SLI) were for many years treated as distinct disorders but are now often regarded as different manifestations of the same underlying problem, differing only in severity or developmental stage. The merging of these categories has been motivated by the reconceptualization of dyslexia as a language disorder in which phonological processing is deficient. The authors argue that this focus underestimates the independent influence of semantic and syntactic deficits, which are widespread in SLI and which affect reading comprehension and impair attainment of fluent reading in adolescence. The authors suggest that 2 dimensions of impairment are needed to conceptualize the relationship between these disorders and to capture phenotypic features that are important for identifying neurobiologically and etiologically coherent subgroups.
  • Article
    In order to investigate the relationship between dyslexia and central auditory processing, 19 children with spelling disability and 15 controls at grades 5 and 6 were examined using a passive oddball paradigm. Mismatch negativity (MMN) was determined for tone and speech stimuli. While there were no group differences for the tone stimuli, we found a significantly attenuated MMN in the dyslexic group for the speech stimuli. This finding leads to the conclusion that dyslexics have a specific speech processing deficit at the sensory level which could be used to identify children at risk at an early age.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    An influential theory attributes developmental disorders of language and literacy to low-level auditory perceptual difficulties. However, evidence to date has been inconsistent and contradictory. We investigated whether this mixed picture could be explained in terms of heterogeneity in the language-impaired population. In Experiment 1, the behavioural responses of 16 people with specific language impairment (SLI) and 16 control listeners (aged 10 to 19 years) to auditory backward recognition masking (ABRM) stimuli and unmasked tones indicated that a subgroup of people with SLI are less able to discriminate between the frequencies of sounds regardless of their rate of presentation. Further, these people tended to be the younger participants, and were characterised by relatively poor nonword reading. In Experiment 2, the auditory event-related potentials (ERPs) of the same groups to unmasked tones were measured. Listeners with SLI tended to have age-inappropriate waveforms in the N1-P2-N2 region, regardless of their auditory discrimination scores in Experiment 1. Together, these results suggest that SLI may be characterised by immature development of auditory cortex, such that adult-level frequency discrimination performance is attained several years later than normal.
  • Article
    In the final paragraph of her recent book Uncommon Understanding, Bishop (1997), concludes her comprehensive review of the research literature on etiology, assessment and treatment of children with receptive language impairments with the following quote: "The ultimate test of a hypothesis is through experimental manipulation. If one believes one has identified the primary process that is implicated in SLI, then by ameliorating that deficit, one should be able to show beneficial effects on other aspects of language development. Although applications to intervention are frequently cited by researchers as justification for doing experimental studies, all too often the link with clinical practice is never made. It is time for researchers to recognize that intervention studies are not just an optional, applied adjunct to experimental work, but that they provide the best method available for evaluating hypotheses and unconfounding correlated factors. Intervention studies, such as the methods for sharpening discrimination of rapid auditory stimuli, experimental vocabulary training work, and morphological learning studies, are still very new, but they generate excitement precisely because they allow us to test causal theories directly, and to monitor the process of comprehension development as it occurs". Bishop points out here that not only is it an important aim of research on developmental language disabilities to have this research lead to better assessment and remediation services for affected children, but conversely, remediation research may be one of the strongest means of testing competing research hypotheses. One example mentioned by Bishop, of intervention research that is generating excitement, is the use of acoustically modified speech, coupled with adapted neuroplasticity training, to ameliorate language-based learning disabilities. This research was first published in two papers in Science (Tallal et al, 1996; Merzenich et al, 1996) with add
  • Article
    Four-and-one-half- to eight-and-one-half-year-old children with normal language development, normal adults, and dysphasic children were tested for their ability to perceive binary sequences of nonverbal auditory stimuli. Performance was studied in relation to the rate of presentation of stimulus sequence, as measured by the time interval between stimulus elements. Of the normal children studied, only the eight-and-one-half-year-old group responded as well as the adult group to auditory patterns composed of complex tones presented in rapid succession (8-305 msec intervals). Normal children six-and-one-half years and older were able to respond to these same auditory patterns when they were presented more slowly (947-4026 msec intervals). The overall pattern of performance of the dysphasic children was not similar to that of any age group of children with normal language development. The dysphasics' performance was significantly poorer than that of even the four-and-one-half-year-old normal group on rapidly presented auditory sequences, but not significantly different from normal children their own age or adults on the same patterns which were presented more slowly. The interrelation of normal development of rapid auditory processing and normal language development is discussed.
  • Article
    Developmental dysphasics and matched controls were examined for their ability to discriminate (a) two synthesized vowel-vowel syllables and (b) two synthesized consonant- vowel syllables. For both vowels and consonants, dysphasics were impaired when the discriminable components of the two stimuli were brief (43 msec) but unimpaired when these components were 95 msec or longer. It is concluded that developmental dysphasics have no difficulty in discriminating transitional auditory information as such and that their impaired discrimination of synthesized stop consonants is attributable solely to the brief duration of the discriminable components.
  • Article
    Two large groups of children--one progressing normally in school and the other exhibiting language-learning problems--were tested on a set of fine-grained auditory discrimination tasks that required responding to small acoustic differences. Discriminant analysis procedures, using only results for the auditory tasks, correctly classified nearly 80% of the 6- and 7-year-olds and nearly 65% of the 8- to 11-year-olds according to their school placements. Percentages of correct classifications increased to 87% and 75% when measures of receptive vocabulary (PPVT-R), receptive language (the Token Test for Children), and the Digit Span, Coding, and Block Design subtests of the WISC-R were also included in the discriminant functions. Results suggested that fine-grained auditory discrimination makes a major contribution to language learning, particularly in the early elementary school years.
  • Article
    The processing of speech and nonspeech sounds by 23 reading disabled children and their age- and sex-matched controls was examined in a task requiring them to identify and report the order of pairs of stimuli. Reading disabled children were impaired in making judgments with very brief tones and with stop consonant syllables at short interstimulus intervals (ISI's). They had no unusual difficulty with vowel stimuli, vowel stimuli in a white noise background, or very brief visual figures. Poor performance on the tones and stop consonants appears to be due to specific difficulty in processing very brief auditory cues. The reading disabled children also showed deficits in the perception of naturally produced words, less sharply defined category boundaries, and a greater reliance on context in making phoneme identifications. The results suggest a perceptual deficit in some reading disabled children, which interferes with the processing of phonological information.
  • Article
    We have previously demonstrated that, compared with control children, non-verbal auditory processing by developmental dysphasics is subject to a speed constraint [4]. In the present experiments the same subjects were tested for their ability to (a) discriminate between and (b) perceive binary sequences of, synthesized stop consonants, and steady-state vowels. With vowel stimuli, dysphasics were inferior to controls only on stimulus patterns of five elements, which also provoked inferior performance by dysphasics with non-verbal stimuli of the same duration (250 msec). However, dysphasics' discrimination of consonant stimuli was significantly inferior to controls and to their own discrimination of vowel stimuli and non-verbal auditory stimuli of the same duration. It is hypothesized that it is the brief duration of formant transitions which results in dysphasics' inability to discriminate consonant stimuli, and this deficit may be sufficient to explain the speech disorder of these children.
  • Article
    Reading-impaired and control children were given an experimental battery of nonverbal auditory perceptual tests which examined discrimination and temporal order perception. Stimulus tones were presented at various rates. There were no significant differences between groups on tests in which stimuli were presented at slow rates. However, when the same stimuli were presented more rapidly, the reading-impaired group made significantly more errors than the controls. The reading-impaired children's ability to use phonics skills (nonsense word reading) was also examined. There was a high correlation between the number of errors made on the phonics reading test and the number of errors made in responding to the rapidly presented stimuli in the auditory perceptual tests. The hypothesis that some reading impairments are related to low-level auditory perceptual dysfunction that affects the ability to learn to use phonics skills adequately is discussed.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    A speech processing algorithm was developed to create more salient versions of the rapidly changing elements in the acoustic waveform of speech that have been shown to be deficiently processed by language-learning impaired (LLI) children. LLI children received extensive daily training, over a 4-week period, with listening exercises in which all speech was translated into this synthetic form. They also received daily training with computer “games” designed to adaptively drive improvements in temporal processing thresholds. Significant improvements in speech discrimination and language comprehension abilities were demonstrated in two independent groups of LLI children.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Children with language-based learning impairments (LLIs) have major deficits in their recognition of some rapidly successive phonetic elements and nonspeech sound stimuli. In the current study, LLI children were engaged in adaptive training exercises mounted as computer "games" designed to drive improvements in their "temporal processing" skills. With 8 to 16 hours of training during a 20-day period, LLI children improved markedly in their abilities to recognize brief and fast sequences of nonspeech and speech stimuli.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Developmental dyslexia is generally believed to result from impaired linguistic processing rather than from deficits in low-level sensory function. Challenging this view, we studied the perception of non-verbal acoustic stimuli and low-level auditory evoked potentials in dyslexic adults. Compared with matched controls, dyslexics were selectively impaired in tasks (frequency discrimination and binaural unmasking) which rely on decoding neural discharges phase-locked to the fine structure of the stimulus. Furthermore, this ability to use phase-locking was related to reading ability. In addition, the evoked potential reflecting phase-locked discharges was significantly smaller in dyslexics. These results demonstrate a low-level auditory impairment in dyslexia traceable to the brainstem nuclei.
  • Article
    Poor readers are inferior to normal-reading peers in aspects of speech perception. Two hypotheses have been proposed to account for their deficits: (i) a speech-specific failure in phonological representation and (ii) a general deficit in auditory "temporal processing," such that they cannot easily perceive the rapid spectral changes of formant transitions at the onset of stop-vowel syllables. To test these hypotheses, two groups of second-grade children (20 "good readers," 20 "poor readers"), matched for age and intelligence, were selected to differ significantly on a /ba/-/da/ temporal order judgment (TOJ) task, said to be diagnostic of a temporal processing deficit. Three experiments then showed that the groups did not differ in: (i) TOJ when /ba/ and /da/ were paired with more easily discriminated syllables (/ba/-/sa/, /da/-/fa/); (ii) discriminating nonspeech sine wave analogs of the second and third formants of /ba/ and /da/; (iii) sensitivity to brief transitional cues varying along a synthetic speech continuum. Thus, poor readers' difficulties with /ba/-/da/ reflected perceptual confusion between phonetically similar, though phonologically contrastive, syllables rather than difficulty in perceiving rapid spectral changes. The results are consistent with a speech-specific, not a general auditory, deficit.
  • Article
    Between 3 and 6 per cent of children who are otherwise unimpaired have extreme difficulties producing and understanding spoken language. This disorder is typically labelled specific language impairment. Children diagnosed with specific language impairment often have accompanying reading difficulties (dyslexia), but not all children with reading difficulties have specific language impairment. Some researchers claim that language impairment arises from failures specific to language or cognitive processing. Others hold that language impairment results from a more elemental problem that makes affected children unable to hear the acoustic distinctions among successive brief sounds in speech. Here we report the results of psychophysical tests employing simple tones and noises showing that children with specific language impairment have severe auditory perceptual deficits for brief but not long tones in particular sound contexts. Our data support the view that language difficulties result from problems in auditory perception, and provide further information about the nature of these perceptual problems that should contribute to improving the diagnosis and treatment of language impairment and related disorders.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Two patterns of appropriately filtered acoustic white noise can be binaurally fused by the human auditory system to extract pitch and location information that is not available to either ear alone. This phenomenon is called dichotic pitch. Here we present a new method for generating more effective and useful dichotic pitch stimuli. These novel stimuli allow the psychophysical assessment of dichotic pitch detection thresholds. We show that dichotic pitch detection is significantly impaired in individuals with developmental dyslexia, as compared to average readers. These results suggest a low-level auditory deficit associated with dyslexia and also demonstrate the potential value of our new dichotic pitch stimuli for assessment of auditory processing.
  • Article
    Inferior auditory temporal processing has been postulated as causally linked to phonological processing deficits in disabled readers with concomitant oral language delay (LDRDs), and absent in specifically disabled readers with normal oral language (SRDs). This investigation compared SRDs, LDRDs and normal readers aged 7-10 years on measures of auditory temporal processing (temporal order judgement) and phonological decoding (nonword reading). LDRDs exhibited deficits in temporal order judgement compared with normal readers, from whom SRDs did not differ significantly. These findings suggest that auditory temporal processing and oral language are related; however, very large within-group variability in the auditory temporal processing data further suggests that this relationship prevails in only a proportion of disabled readers with concomitant oral language weakness. In nonword reading, LDRDs performed worst of all, but SRDs also exhibited significant deficits compared with normal readers. Taken together, our results preclude the conceptualisation of temporal processing deficits as the unitary cause of phonological and language deficits in disabled readers.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Fourteen twin pairs, aged 8 to 10 years, were tested 3 times over 12 months; they included 11 children with language impairment (LI), 11 control children matched on nonverbal ability and age, and 6 co-twins who did not meet criteria for LI or control status. Thresholds were estimated for detecting a brief backward-masked tone (BM), detection of frequency modulation (FM), and pitch discrimination using temporal cues (deltaf0). Both BM and FM thresholds improved with training, and by the 2nd test session, FM thresholds were in the adult range. There were marked individual differences on BM and deltaf0 and, for both tasks, performance correlated with Tallal's Auditory Repetition Task administered 2 years previously. However, no auditory measure gave significant differences between LI and control groups; performance was influenced more by nonverbal than language ability. Some children did have a stable pattern of poor performance on certain auditory tasks, but their good FM detection raised questions about whether processing of auditory temporal information is abnormal. We found no evidence that auditory deficits are a necessary or sufficient cause of language impairments.
  • Article
    Relationships between lexical/nonlexical reading and auditory temporal processing were examined. Poor nonlexical readers (poor nonword readers, phonologic dyslexics) had difficulty across tone tasks irrespective of speed of presentation or mode of recall. Poor lexical readers (poor irregular word readers, surface dyslexics) had difficulty recalling tones in a sequence only when they were presented rapidly. Covariate analysis supported these findings, revealing that nonlexical (nonword) reading performance is associated with general auditory performance, but lexical (irregular word) reading is particularly associated with auditory sequencing. These findings suggest that phonologic and surface dyslexics perform differently on nonspeech auditory tasks. Because the two different types of poor readers did not differ significantly on tests of memory and learning but did differ on auditory tasks, we suggest that their performance on the auditory tasks may reflect auditory processing abnormalities as opposed to more general learning or memory difficulties. In addition to these observed qualitative differences between groups on the tone tasks, collapsing groups (all readers) revealed significant correlations between nonword reading and the Same-Different tone tasks in particular, whereas irregular word reading was not associated with any tone tasks; there also appears to be a quantitative relationship between nonlexical reading and Same-Different tone task performance as better or worse nonword reading predicts better or worse performance on the Same-Different tone tasks. In particular, it is conceivable that an auditory temporal processing deficit might contribute to poor nonword reading.
  • Article
    The reading and oral language scores of 110 children with a specific reading disability (SRD) and 102 children with a specific language impairment (SLI) indicated that approximately 53% of children with an SRD and children with an SLI could be equally classified as having an SRD or an SLI, 55% of children with an SRD have impaired oral language, and 51% of children with an SLI have a reading disability. Finding that a large percentage of children can be equally classified as SRD or SLI has repercussions for the criteria used to define an SRD, for conceptualising subgroups of learning disability, and for estimates of the incidence of SRD. Further, it highlights the need for future studies to assess both the reading and oral language abilities of SRD and SLI participants to determine how specifically impaired and homogeneous samples really are.
  • Article
    The auditory backward recognition masking (ABRM) and intensity discrimination (ID) thresholds of children with a specific language impairment and poor reading (SLI-poor readers), children with an SLI and average reading (SLI-average readers), children with a specific reading disability and average spoken language skills (SRD-average language), and children with normal spoken and written language (controls) were estimated with "child-friendly" psychophysical tasks. The pattern of ABRM and ID scores suggests that a subset of children with concomitant oral language and reading impairments has poor ABRM thresholds, and that a subgroup of children with an SLI or SRD has poorer ID thresholds than controls. The latter result warns against using rapid auditory processing tasks that do not actively control for auditory discrimination ability. Further, some unusually poor ABRM scores and ID scores question the validity of extreme scores produced by children on psychophysical tasks. Finally, the poor oral language scores of many of the children who had impaired reading highlight the need to test the oral language skills of SRD samples to ascertain how homogeneous and specifically disabled they really are.
  • Article
    The hypothesis of a general (i.e. cross-modal) temporal processing deficit in dyslexia was tested by examining rapid processing in both the auditory and the visual system in the same children with dyslexia. Participants were 10- to 12-year-old dyslexic readers and age-matched normal reading controls. Psychophysical thresholds were estimated for auditory gap and visual double flash detection, using a two-interval, two-alternative forced-choice paradigm. Significant group differences were found for the auditory and the visual test. Furthermore, temporal processing measures were significantly related to word and pseudo-word reading skills. As 70% of the dyslexic readers had significantly higher thresholds than controls for both auditory and visual temporal processing, the evidence tends to support the hypothesis of a general temporal processing deficit in children with dyslexia.
  • Article
    Neuropsychologists often need to estimate the abnormality of an individual patient's test score, or test score discrepancies, when the normative or control sample against which the patient is compared is modest in size. Crawford and Howell [The Clinical Neuropsychologist 12 (1998) 482] and Crawford et al. [Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 20 (1998) 898] presented methods for obtaining point estimates of the abnormality of test scores and test score discrepancies in this situation. In the present study, we extend this work by developing methods of setting confidence limits on the estimates of abnormality. Although these limits can be used with data from normative or control samples of any size, they will be most useful when the sample sizes are modest. We also develop a method for obtaining point estimates and confidence limits on the abnormality of a discrepancy between a patient's mean score on k-tests and a test entering into that mean. Computer programs that implement the formulae for the confidence limits (and point estimates) are described and made available.
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    Full-text available
    The nature of the auditory processing deficit of disabled readers is still an unresolved issue. The quest for a fundamental, nonlinguistic, perceptual impairment has been dominated by the hypothesis that the difficulty lies in processing sequences of stimuli at presentation rates of tens of milliseconds. The present study examined this hypothesis using tasks that require processing of a wide range of stimulus time constants. About a third of the sampled population of disabled readers (classified as "poor auditory processors") had difficulties in most of the tasks tested: detection of frequency differences, detection of tones in narrowband noise, detection of amplitude modulation, detection of the direction of sound sources moving in virtual space, and perception of the lateralized position of tones based on their interaural phase differences. Nevertheless, across-channel integration was intact in these poor auditory processors since comodulation masking release was not reduced. Furthermore, phase locking was presumably intact since binaural masking level differences were normal. In a further examination of temporal processing, participants were asked to discriminate two tones at various intervals where the frequency difference was ten times each individual's frequency just noticeable difference (JND). Under these conditions, poor auditory processors showed no specific difficulty at brief intervals, contrary to predictions under a fast temporal processing deficit assumption. The complementary subgroup of disabled readers who were not poor auditory processors showed some difficulty in this condition when compared with their direct controls. However, they had no difficulty on auditory tasks such as amplitude modulation detection, which presumably taps processing of similar time scales. These two subgroups of disabled readers had similar reading performance but those with a generally poor auditory performance scored lower on some cognitive tests. Taken together, these results suggest that a large portion of disabled readers suffer from diverse difficulties in auditory processing. No parsimonious explanation based on current models of low-level auditory processing can account simultaneously for all these results, though increased within-channel noise is consistent with the majority of the deficits found in the subgroup of poorer auditory processors.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    The etiology and mechanisms of specific language impairment (SLI) in children are unknown. Differences in basic auditory processing abilities have been suggested to underlie their language deficits. Studies suggest that the neuropathology, such as atypical patterns of cerebral lateralization and cortical cellular anomalies, implicated in such impairments likely occur early in life. Such anomalies may play a part in the rapid processing deficits seen in this disorder. However, prospective, longitudinal studies in infant populations that are critical to examining these hypotheses have not been done. In the study described, performance on brief, rapidly-presented, successive auditory processing and perceptual-cognitive tasks were assessed in two groups of infants: normal control infants with no family history of language disorders and infants from families with a positive family history for language impairment. Initial assessments were obtained when infants were 6-9 months of age (M=7.5 months) and the sample was then followed through age 36 months. At the first visit, infants' processing of rapid auditory cues as well as global processing speed and memory were assessed. Significant differences in mean thresholds were seen in infants born into families with a history of SLI as compared with controls. Examination of relations between infant processing abilities and emerging language through 24 months-of-age revealed that threshold for rapid auditory processing at 7.5 months was the single best predictor of language outcome. At age 3, rapid auditory processing threshold and being male, together predicted 39-41% of the variance in language outcome. Thus, early deficits in rapid auditory processing abilities both precede and predict subsequent language delays. These findings support an essential role for basic nonlinguistic, central auditory processes, particularly rapid spectrotemporal processing, in early language development. Further, these findings provide a temporal diagnostic window during which future language impairments may be addressed.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Developmental dyslexia, characterized by unexplained difficulty in reading, is associated with behavioral deficits in phonological processing. Functional neuroimaging studies have shown a deficit in the neural mechanisms underlying phonological processing in children and adults with dyslexia. The present study examined whether behavioral remediation ameliorates these dysfunctional neural mechanisms in children with dyslexia. Functional MRI was performed on 20 children with dyslexia (8-12 years old) during phonological processing before and after a remediation program focused on auditory processing and oral language training. Behaviorally, training improved oral language and reading performance. Physiologically, children with dyslexia showed increased activity in multiple brain areas. Increases occurred in left temporo-parietal cortex and left inferior frontal gyrus, bringing brain activation in these regions closer to that seen in normal-reading children. Increased activity was observed also in right-hemisphere frontal and temporal regions and in the anterior cingulate gyrus. Children with dyslexia showed a correlation between the magnitude of increased activation in left temporo-parietal cortex and improvement in oral language ability. These results suggest that a partial remediation of language-processing deficits, resulting in improved reading, ameliorates disrupted function in brain regions associated with phonological processing and produces additional compensatory activation in other brain regions.
  • Article
    Recent research suggests an auditory temporal deficit as a possible contributing factor to poor phonemic awareness skills. This study investigated the relationship between auditory temporal processing of nonspeech sounds and phonological awareness ability in children with a reading disability, aged 8-12 years, using Tallal's tone-order judgement task. Normal performance on the tone-order task was established for 36 normal readers. Forty-two children with developmental reading disability were then subdivided by their performance on the tone-order task. Average and poor tone-order subgroups were then compared on their ability to process speech sounds and visual symbols, and on phonological awareness and reading. The presence of a tone-order deficit did not relate to performance on the order processing of speech sounds, to poorer phonological awareness or to more severe reading difficulties. In particular, there was no evidence of a group by interstimulus interval interaction, as previously described in the literature, and thus little support for a general auditory temporal processing difficulty as an underlying problem in poor readers. In this study, deficient order judgement on a nonverbal auditory temporal order task (tone task) did not underlie phonological awareness or reading difficulties.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    The ability of 20 adult dyslexic readers to extract frequency information from successive tone pairs was compared with that of IQ-matched controls using temporal order discrimination and auditory backward recognition masking (ABRM) tasks. In both paradigms, the interstimulus interval (ISI) between tones in a pair was either short (20 ms) or long (200 ms). Temporal order discrimination was better for both groups of listeners at long than at short ISIs, but no group differences in performance were observed at either ISI. Performance on the ABRM task was also better at long than at short ISIs and was influenced by variability in masker frequency and by the spectral proximity of target and masker. The only significant group difference was found in one condition of the ABRM task when the target-masker interval was 200 ms, but this difference was not reliable when the measure was of optimal performance. Moderate correlations were observed between auditory thresholds and phonological skill for the sample as a whole and within the dyslexic and control groups. However, although a small subgroup of dyslexic listeners with poor phonology was characterized by elevated thresholds across the auditory tasks, evidence for an association between auditory and phonological processing skills was weakened by the finding of a subgroup of control listeners with poor auditory processing and normal phonological processing skills.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    The physiological mechanisms that contribute to abnormal encoding of speech in children with learning problems are yet to be well understood. Furthermore, speech perception problems appear to be particularly exacerbated by background noise in this population. This study compared speech-evoked cortical responses recorded in a noisy background to those recorded in quiet in normal children (NL) and children with learning problems (LP). Timing differences between responses recorded in quiet and in background noise were assessed by cross-correlating the responses with each other. Overall response magnitude was measured with root-mean-square (RMS) amplitude. Cross-correlation scores indicated that 23% of LP children exhibited cortical neural timing abnormalities such that their neurophysiological representation of speech sounds became distorted in the presence of background noise. The latency of the N2 response in noise was isolated as being the root of this distortion. RMS amplitudes in these children did not differ from NL children, indicating that this result was not due to a difference in response magnitude. LP children who participated in a commercial auditory training program and exhibited improved cortical timing also showed improvements in phonological perception. Consequently, auditory pathway timing deficits can be objectively observed in LP children, and auditory training can diminish these deficits.
  • Article
    Phonological awareness is believed to play a major role in the auditory contribution to spelling skills. The previous paper reports low-level auditory deficits in five different subdomains in 33-70% of the dyslexics. The first study of this paper reports the results of an attempt to improve low-level auditory skills by systematic daily practice of those tasks that had not been passed in previous diagnostic sessions. The data of 140 dyslexics indicate that the average number of unsolved tasks can be reduced from 3 of 5 to 1 of 5. The success rates have values of 70-80% for intensity and frequency discrimination and for gap detection, but reach only 36% for time-order judgement and 6% for side-order judgement. The second study reports that successful low-level auditory training transfers completely to language-related phonological skills and also to spelling with the largest profit in spelling errors due to poor auditory analysis. Control groups (waiting and placebo) did not exhibit significant improvements. It is concluded that low-level auditory deficits should be considered and improved by practice in order to give the dyslexics more phonological help when trying to transfer what they hear to spelling.