- Designing Developmentally Sensitive AAC Technologies for Young Children with Complex Communication Needs: Considerations of Communication, Working Memory, Attention, Motor Skills, and Sensory-Perception. [Journal Article]
- SSSemin Speech Lang 2019; 40(4):320-332
- Young children who require augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) must be provided with AAC technologies that are designed to meet their needs and accommodate their skills. One critical asp…
Young children who require augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) must be provided with AAC technologies that are designed to meet their needs and accommodate their skills. One critical aspect of matching the system design features of aided AAC technologies to the needs and abilities of the child with complex communication needs is a consideration of the child's developmental skills. This article provides an overview of specific, early developmental milestones in communication, cognition (i.e., attention and working memory), motor skills, and sensory-perception (including visual attention) that influence decisions regarding AAC system design for young children. Developmental considerations are also reviewed for young children with Down's syndrome, a group that often benefits from early provision of AAC. Based on developmental theory and milestones, specific recommendations are provided for the design of developmentally sensitive AAC technologies for young children who are beginning communicators.
- A Review of Language, Executive Function, and Intervention in Autism Spectrum Disorder. [Journal Article]
- SSSemin Speech Lang 2019; 40(4):291-304
- Difficulties with both executive functions and language skills are common but variable in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Executive functions and language skills are related to one another, such that…
Difficulties with both executive functions and language skills are common but variable in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Executive functions and language skills are related to one another, such that vocabulary, syntax, and pragmatics are related to domains of working memory, shifting, and inhibition in ASD, although the directionality of these relationships remains unclear. Moreover, interventions that target pragmatic ability have been found to improve executive function skills, and conversely, executive function interventions are linked with improvements in social skills in children with ASD. We review the literature on executive functions, language skills, and their relationship in ASD; discuss factors that may be driving inconsistent findings; and explore clinical applications from the research thus far.
- Redmond (2002) Revisited: Have Standardized Behavioral Rating Scales Gotten Better at Accommodating for Overlapping Symptoms with Language Impairment? [Journal Article]
- SSSemin Speech Lang 2019; 40(4):272-290
- Seventeen years ago, Redmond reviewed five standardized behavioral rating scales and identified several aspects of their design that made them prone to mischaracterize language impairments as socioem…
Seventeen years ago, Redmond reviewed five standardized behavioral rating scales and identified several aspects of their design that made them prone to mischaracterize language impairments as socioemotional behavioral disorders. The purpose of this report is to provide an update and extension of the original audit. We consulted test manuals to evaluate: (1) representation of children with language impairments in their standardization samples; (2) presence of language, or academic items within their inventories; (3) accommodations for administering the measure to children with language impairments; and (4) procedures for identifying inordinately punitive ratings. Overlapping language and academic symptoms continued to be a problem across current behavioral rating scales. Improvements since Redmond occurred in the representation of children with language impairments in standardization samples and in procedures for identifying inordinately punitive ratings. We discuss implications for clinical assessment, research programs, and instrument development.
- Cognitive Control along the Language Spectrum: From the Typical Bilingual Child to Language Impairment. [Journal Article]
- SSSemin Speech Lang 2019; 40(4):256-271
- Cognitive control refers to the ability to perform goal-directed behaviors in the presence of other compelling actions or in the face of habitual practices. Cognitive control functions play a critica…
Cognitive control refers to the ability to perform goal-directed behaviors in the presence of other compelling actions or in the face of habitual practices. Cognitive control functions play a critical role in children's language processing and literacy development. In recent years, many clinicians have expanded their assessment and treatment to target specific cognitive skills. Our goal is to provide a review of recent findings on cognitive control functions in children with different language status (i.e., monolingual and bilingual children with and without language impairment). While children with language impairment show performance deficits in specific cognitive functions (e.g., working memory updating and interference control), typically developing bilingual children often outperform their monolingual peers in cognitive control tasks. However, the relationship between bilingualism and cognitive control has been controversial. Several factors that influence these variations are discussed. Given the findings on the joint impact of bilingualism and language impairment on cognitive control functions, we identify conditions in which bilingualism attenuates the negative effects of the language deficit and conditions in which language impairment has a stronger effect than bilingualism. Critical issues of bilingual assessment, suggestions, and future directions are discussed.
- Variability of Executive Function Performance in Preschoolers with Developmental Language Disorder. [Journal Article]
- SSSemin Speech Lang 2019; 40(4):243-255
- Although results vary across individual studies, a large body of evidence suggests that children with developmental language disorder (DLD) have domain-general deficits in executive function compared…
Although results vary across individual studies, a large body of evidence suggests that children with developmental language disorder (DLD) have domain-general deficits in executive function compared with peers with typically developing language. Poorer performance for children with DLD has been reported on verbal and nonverbal measures of sustained selective attention, working memory, inhibition, and shifting. However, examination of the variability of task scores among both children with and without DLD reveals a wide range of executive function performance for both groups. Additionally, using executive function scores to classify children into DLD versus typical groups results in classification accuracy that is not clinically useful. This evidence indicates that group-level differences in executive function abilities between children with and without DLD cannot be applied at the individual level. Many children with DLD appear to have intact executive function abilities, which undermines the possibility that poor executive functioning causes language deficits in this population. However, a substantial number of children with DLD also have executive function deficits, and, therefore, therapy approaches with this population should consider both their language and executive function abilities.
- Noninvasive neurostimulation of left temporal lobe disrupts rapid talker adaptation in speech processing. [Journal Article]
- BLBrain Lang 2019 Jul 13; 196:104655
- Talker adaptation improves speech processing efficiency by reducing possible mappings between talkers' speech acoustics and listeners' phonemic representations. We investigated the functional neuroan…
Talker adaptation improves speech processing efficiency by reducing possible mappings between talkers' speech acoustics and listeners' phonemic representations. We investigated the functional neuroanatomy of talker adaptation by applying noninvasive neurostimulation (high-definition transcranial direct current stimulation; HD-tDCS) to left superior temporal lobe while participants performed an auditory word identification task. We factorially manipulated talker variability (single vs. mixed talkers) and speech context (isolated words vs. connected speech), measuring listeners' speech processing efficiency under anodal, cathodal, or sham stimulation. Speech processing was faster for single talkers than mixed talkers, and connected speech reduced the additional processing costs associated with mixed-talker speech. However, the beneficial effect of connected speech in the mixed-talker condition was significantly attenuated under both anodal and cathodal stimulation versus sham. Stimulation of left superior temporal lobe disrupts the brain's ability to use local phonetic context to rapidly adapt to a talker, revealing this region's causal role in talker adaptation.
- Spoken language proficiency predicts print-speech convergence in beginning readers. [Journal Article]
- NNeuroimage 2019 Jul 13; :116021
- Learning to read transforms the brain, building on children's existing capacities for language and visuospatial processing. In particular, the development of print-speech convergence, or the spatial …
Learning to read transforms the brain, building on children's existing capacities for language and visuospatial processing. In particular, the development of print-speech convergence, or the spatial overlap of neural regions necessary for both auditory and visual language processing, is critical for literacy acquisition. Print-speech convergence is a universal signature of proficient reading, yet the antecedents of this convergence remain unknown. Here we examine the relationship between spoken language proficiency and the emergence of the print-speech network in beginning readers (ages 5-6). Results demonstrate that children's language proficiency, and not their early literacy skill, explains variance in their print-speech neural convergence in kindergarten. Furthermore, print-speech convergence in kindergarten predicts reading abilities one year later. These findings suggest that children's language ability is a core mechanism guiding the neural plasticity for learning to read, and extend theoretical perspectives on language and literacy acquisition across the lifespan.
- Performance of a Natural Language Processing Method to Extract Stone Composition from the Electronic Health Record. [Journal Article]
- UUrology 2019 Jul 13
- CONCLUSIONS: NLP extraction of kidney stone composition from large-scale EHRs is feasible with high precision, enabling high-throughput epidemiological studies of kidney stone disease. These tools will enable high fidelity kidney stone research from the EHR.
- Daily hassles, loneliness, and diurnal salivary cortisol in emerging adults. [Journal Article]
- HBHorm Behav 2019 Jul 13
- This study used an intensive protocol to examine the effects of daily hassles and loneliness on diurnal salivary cortisol levels. Fifty Chinese undergraduates (28 females) provided six saliva samples…
This study used an intensive protocol to examine the effects of daily hassles and loneliness on diurnal salivary cortisol levels. Fifty Chinese undergraduates (28 females) provided six saliva samples each day for two consecutive days (at 0, 0.5, 3, 6, and 12 h after waking and at bedtime) and completed a questionnaire that included scales to measure daily hassles experienced over the previous month, trait loneliness, and depression. Cortisol data were aggregated over two days and used in subsequent analyses, focusing on the cortisol awakening response, diurnal slope, and overall cortisol output operationalized as the area under the curve with reference to the ground (AUCG). Multiple regression analysis showed that an increase in loneliness had a significant association with an increase in the AUCG and with a steeper diurnal slope. Loneliness also showed a significant interaction with daily hassles in that the positive association between daily hassles and AUCG was accentuated in the participants who reported a greater degree of loneliness. Our findings demonstrate for the first time the importance of trait loneliness in modulating the association between daily hassles and diurnal cortisol levels, which has significant clinical implications. Interventions to reduce loneliness should help college students to better cope with daily stressors. Increased attention should also be paid to the health implications of an elevated cortisol level in this relatively young and healthy population.
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- Developmental modulation and predictability of age-dependent vocal plasticity in adult zebra finches. [Review]
- BRBrain Res 2019 Jul 13; :146336
- Predicting the nature of behavioral plasticity can provide insight into mechanisms of behavioral expression and control. Songbirds like the zebra finch rely on vocal signals for communication, and th…
Predicting the nature of behavioral plasticity can provide insight into mechanisms of behavioral expression and control. Songbirds like the zebra finch rely on vocal signals for communication, and the performance of these signals demonstrate considerable plasticity over development. Traditionally, these signals were thought to be fixed in adulthood, but recent studies have revealed significant age-dependent changes to spectral and temporal features of song in adult songbirds. A number of age-dependent changes to song resemble acute changes to adult song performance across social contexts (e.g., when an adult male sings to a female relative to when he sings in isolation). The ability of variation in social context-dependent changes to predict variation in age-dependent plasticity would suggest shared mechanisms, but little is known about this predictability. In addition, although developmental experiences can shape adult plasticity, little is known about the extent to which social interactions during development affect age-dependent change to adult song. To this end, we systematically analyzed age- and context-dependent changes to adult zebra finch song, and then examined the degree to which age-dependent changes varied across birds that were social or non-socially tutored birds and to which social context-dependent changes predicted age-dependent changes. Non-socially tutored birds showed more dramatic changes to the broad structure of their motif over time than socially tutored birds, but non-socially and socially tutored birds did not differ in the extent of changes to various spectral and temporal features of song. Overall, we found that adult zebra finches produced longer and more spectrally stereotyped songs when they were older than when they were younger. Moreover, regardless of developmental tutoring, individual variation in age-dependent changes to song bout duration and syllable repetition were predicted by variation in social context-dependent changes to these features. These data indicate that social experiences during development can shape some aspects of adult plasticity and that acute context-dependent and long-term age-dependent to some song features could be mediated by modifications within similar neural substrates.