University of Limerick
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Young children’s performance on novel cognitive linguistic tests. What can we learn from it?

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posted on 2014-10-10, 13:27 authored by Suzanne Larrigan
Background: 10-15% of preschool children and 6% of school aged children have a speech sound disorder (SSD) (Williams, 2003). Currently, the cause of the majority of SSDs is unknown. Some researchers posit that deficits in cognitive linguistic skills such as rule derivation, auditory discrimination and memory may underlie some types of SSD. However, no research has been carried out to create norms for a wide range of cognitive function tasks in Typically Developing Children (TDC). Aims: 1) To establish norms for young children’s performance on a range of cognitive assessments. 2) To investigate whether there is a progression with age across the battery of novel cognitive assessments. 3) To research whether there is a relationship between PCC and performance on the cognitive tests. 4) To establish whether SES has an impact on children’s performance. Method: 58 Typically Developing Children(TDC) (3;0-5;08) from a city in the Mid-West of Ireland were assessed using the phonology subtest of the Diagnostic Evaluation of Articulation and Phonology (DEAP, Dodd et al. 2002) as well as five cognitive assessments which aim to assess non-word similarity, numerical concepts, auditory memory, pattern recognition and knowledge of phonological legality. SPSS was used to compute the mean, median and standard deviation for each age in each subtest. Associations between socioeconomic status and performance were also investigated. Results: Normative data revealed that the mean scores on all five novel cognitive tests increased with age. The results showed that children from DEIS schools performed more poorly on the majority of cognitive tests. There were no statistically significant correlations between speech accuracy and the cognitive linguistic assessments beyond the contribution of age. Conclusions: The disassociation between speech accuracy and the scores on the cognitive battery of tests may suggest that deficits in these areas are not the underlying cause of SSDs. However, this a tentative conclusion and further research with a larger, more balanced sample is warranted.



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