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Auditory and speech processing in specific language impairment (SLI) and dyslexia

Tuomainen, O.T.; (2009) Auditory and speech processing in specific language impairment (SLI) and dyslexia. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis investigates auditory and speech processing in Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and dyslexia. One influential theory of SLI and dyslexia postulates that both SLI and dyslexia stem from similar underlying sensory deficit that impacts speech perception and phonological development leading to oral language and literacy deficits. Previous studies, however, have shown that these underlying sensory deficits exist in only a subgroup of language impaired individuals, and the exact nature of these deficits is still largely unknown. The present thesis investigates three aspects of auditory-phonetic interface: 1) The weighting of acoustic cues to phonetic voicing contrast 2) the preattentive and attentive discrimination of speech and non-linguistic stimuli and 3) the formation of auditory memory traces for speech and non-linguistic stimuli in young adults with SLI and dyslexia. This thesis focuses on looking at both individial and group-level data of auditory and speech processing and their relationship with higher-level language measures. The groups of people with SLI and dyslexia who participated were aged between 14 and 25 and their performance was compared to a group of controls matched on chronological age, IQ, gender and handedness. Investigations revealed a complex pattern of behaviour. The results showed that individuals with SLI or dyslexia are not poor at discriminating sounds (whether speech or non-speech). However, in all experiments, there was more variation and more outliers in the SLI group indicating that auditory deficits may occur in a small subgroup of the SLI population. Moreover, investigations of the exact nature of the input-processing deficit revealed that some individuals with SLI have less categorical representations for speech sounds and that they weight the acoustic cues to phonemic identity differently from controls and dyslexics.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Auditory and speech processing in specific language impairment (SLI) and dyslexia
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Child Health > Department of Neurosciences and Mental Health > ICH - Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Unit

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