Clinical application of computer-driven methods for the assessment and treatment of speech perception disorders

S. Rvachew


The relationship between speech perception and speech production errors in children with impaired phonological skills has been a controversial issue in the practice of speech-language pathology for many decades. During the past 20 years speech-language pathologists have largely ignored the perceptual abilities of their phonologically impaired clients as a consequence of vigorous critiques of clinically available methods for assessing and treating speech perception disorders. As Locke observed in 1980, `much of our thinking on this issue is weakened by the fact that efficient perception measures have not been in general use. Because perceptual questions, historically, have not properly been asked in the laboratory, it is not obvious that perceptual questions currently should be answered in the clinic'. Fortunately, since that time, perceptual questions are being properly asked in the laboratory by researchers who are borrowing methods from the study of the perceptual abilities of adults learning a second language. These methods include the use of: synthetic or digitally altered speech stimuli for both the assessment and treatment of perceptual difficulties; microcomputers to present large numbers of stimuli to subjects for identification, with motivating feedback when appropriate; and, acoustic analysis of speech samples in order to carefully relate speech perception to speech production abilities in the same subject. This paper describes a series of studies designed to apply these methods to the assessment and treatment of speech perception errors in phonologically impaired children who misarticulate fricatives. The contributions of this line of research to phonological theory and clinical practice are summarized


biomedical equipment; hearing; medical computing; microcomputer applications; patient diagnosis; patient treatment; speech intelligibility; computer-driven methods; speech perception disorders; speech perception; speech production errors; impaired phonological skills; speech-language pathology; perceptual abilities; clinically available methods; digitally altered speech stimuli; microcomputers; feedback; acoustic analysis; phonologically impaired children; clinical practice

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