ASA 127th Meeting M.I.T. 1994 June 6-10

5aSP3. Speech perception by language-impaired children.

Richard G. Schwartz

Ph.D. Program in Speech and Hear. Sci., City Univ. of New York, 33 W. 42 St., New York, NY 10036

Children with language impairments, particularly those defined in an exclusionary fashion as having a specific language impairment, have been reported to have auditory and speech perception deficits in comparison to age-matched peers. Investigators have suggested characterizations ranging from generalized temporal deficits, causing difficulty with brief or rapidly changing cues, to limited processing capacity, resulting in high demands for difficult discriminations. Findings concerning perceptual abilities and limitations of children with developmental language disorders will be critically reviewed. The review will focus on the nature of the stimuli and the tasks employed in order to provide a comprehensive characterization of these auditory and speech perception limitations. The relationship between these deficits and known speech and language deficits and their hypothesized relationship to limitations in working memory will be considered. The problem of comparing auditory and phonetic perception to production data drawn from children's production of meaningful words and phrases will also be addressed. A methodological alternative for assessing phonological perception and some preliminary data will be presented. A discussion of the importance of levels of data in understanding the relationships among speech perception, speech production, and the linguistic deficits observed in specific language impairment will conclude the presentation. [Work supported by NIDCD.]