4th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Philadelphia, PA, USA
October 3-6, 1996

Speech Perceptual Abilities of Children with Specific Reading Difficulty (Dyslexia)

Valerie Hazan, Alan Adlard

Dept of Phonetics and Linguistics, University College London, UK

A group of 13 children with specific reading difficulty (SRD), 12 chronological-age and 12 reading-age controls were tested on a battery of speech-perceptual, psychoacoustic and reading tests. As a group, the SRD children performed worse than controls on all reading tasks, on the speech identification tasks, on discrimination tasks involving consonant clusters contrasts, and in their discrimination of stop consonants in nonsense VCVs. However, only a sub-group (30%) of SRD children showed high error rates in the speech discrimination tasks whilst the rest of the SRD group performed within norms. For this sub-group, discrimination performance was particularly poor for consonant contrasts differing in a single feature which was not acoustically salient, and errors were not limited to stop contrasts. Poor performance was also obtained in the identification tests, especially when the number of acoustic cues marking the contrast was reduced. Their performance did not differ from controls for the psychoacoustic tasks but they showed higher error rates in their reading of nonwords. It is concluded that only a proportion of SRD children show a speech perceptual weakness which seems to be related to a poor ability to discriminate phonemes which are acoustically similar.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Hazan, Valerie / Adlard, Alan (1996): "Speech perceptual abilities of children with specific reading difficulty (dyslexia)", In ICSLP-1996, 165-168.