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Deaf Children’s Acquisition of Speech Skills: A Psycholinguistic Perspective through Intervention

Rees, RI; (2009) Deaf Children’s Acquisition of Speech Skills: A Psycholinguistic Perspective through Intervention. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access


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This study set out to explore the nature of deaf children’s lexical representations and how these may be updated as new speech skills are acquired, through an investigation of speech processing skills and responses to intervention in three deaf children. A computer-based psycholinguistic profiling procedure was developed to examine the relationships between input skills, lexical representations and output skills for a range of consonant contrasts, with the expectation that input skills were important in determining output skills. Using this procedure, consonants or consonant clusters that were not accurately realised by the participants were classified according to responses to real word and nonword input testing in audio-visual and audio-alone conditions. By comparing how the differently classified consonants responded to intervention, the role of input skills in the updating of lexical representations was discovered to be less important than other sources of information, including phonological awareness and knowledge of orthography and grapheme-phoneme links. There was some evidence that articulatory knowledge, acquired through phonetic instruction and tactile feedback, was enriching segments of input representations so that the corresponding segments became easier to detect in input tasks. This questions the assumption that output representations depend on input representations for their specification. Further intervention involving repeated practice of new motor patterns and use of feedback from the therapist to encourage motor planning facilitated generalisation of the acquired speech skills to a wide range of speaking tasks. There was evidence that one of the participants was accessing the orthography of what he was about to say in order to generalise his speech skills and that he could eventually do this, even when conversing at an acceptable rate of speech. The implications for combining the teaching of phonics with speech production training for deaf children are discussed.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Deaf Children’s Acquisition of Speech Skills: A Psycholinguistic Perspective through Intervention
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Deaf, children, speech, intervention
UCL classification: UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1348395
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