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

5pSP11. Training speech perception in deaf children: Generalizing from word to sentence context.

Theresa Hnath-Chisolm

Dept. of Commun. Sci. and Disord., Univ. of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620

Although the training of auditory speech perception skills has long been considered an important component in the treatment of childhood deafness, little research has focused on training issues. Thus the overall goal of this work is to examine the process of speech perception training as it relates to speech production training and language. As a first step, eight profoundly deaf children (5 to 7 years old) were trained to discriminate words, presented in isolation, which were differentiated by vowels. Perception of the words in isolation was compared to perception in syntactically correct sentences. Data were obtained over three time periods: (1) traditional speech/language treatment (TST); (2) TST plus experimental training (TST+EXP); and, (3) control. During the control period no therapy was provided. Results indicated improvement in the perception of the words in isolation during both the TST and TST+EXP periods, with greater improvement during the TST+EXP period. There was no generalization, however, to the sentence level. No changes in performance occurred during the control period. The lack of generalization from words to sentences highlights the importance of providing practice at different levels of linguistic complexity. [Work supported by NIH Grant No. 5KO8DC00049.]