Browsing by Subject "PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS"

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  • Holopainen, Leena; Kofler, Doris; Koch, Arno; Hakkarainen, Airi; Bauer, Kristin; Taverna, Livia (2020)
    The aim of this study was to use path modelling to establish how rapid automatized naming (RAN), verbal short-term memory (VSTM), letter-sound connection (LSC), phoneme blending (PHB), and Raven tasks predict reading in Finnish and German. Students (N = 769) from Finland, Germany, and Italy (German-speaking children from South Tyrol) were followed from first grade until the end of second grade. Firstly, in all countries, LSC was found to be the strongest predictor for reading in first grade. Secondly, Finnish students' word-reading skills were better than those of German and Italian students throughout the follow-up period, but word-reading level in first grade predicted word-reading level after one year only for Italian and German students. Thirdly, rapid automatized naming (RAN) and verbal short-term memory (VSTM) predicted reading skills in each orthography and country with a different power and at different phases, implying that the educational system also has a role in predicting reading skills.
  • Torppa, Ritva; Faulkner, Andrew; Laasonen, Marja; Lipsanen, Jari; Sammler, Daniela (2020)
    Objectives: A major issue in the rehabilitation of children with cochlear implants (CIs) is unexplained variance in their language skills, where many of them lag behind children with normal hearing (NH). Here we assess links between generative language skills and the perception of prosodic stress, and with musical and parental activities in children with CIs and NH. Understanding these links is expected to guide future research and towards supporting language development in children with a CI. Method: 21 unilaterally and early-implanted children and 31 children with NH, aged 5 to 13, were classified as musically active or non-active by a questionnaire recording regularity of musical activities, in particular singing, and reading and other activities shared with parents. Perception of word and sentence stress, performance in word finding, verbal intelligence (WISC vocabulary) and phonological awareness (PA; production of rhymes) were measured in all children. Comparisons between children with a CI and NH were made against a sub-set of 21 of the children with NH who were matched to children with CIs by age, gender, socio-economic background and musical activity. Regression analyses, run separately for children with CIs and NH, assessed how much variance in each language task was shared with each of prosodic perception, the child’s own music activity, and activities with parents, including singing and reading. All statistical analyses were conducted both with and without control for age and maternal education. Results: Musically active children with CIs performed similarly to NH controls in all language tasks, while those who were not musically active performed more poorly. Only musically non-active children with CIs made more phonological and semantic errors in word finding than NH controls, and word finding correlated with other language skills. Regression analysis results for word finding and VIQ were similar for children with CIs and NH. These language skills shared considerable variance with the perception of prosodic stress and musical activities. When age and maternal education were controlled for, strong links remained between perception of prosodic stress and VIQ (shared variance: CI, 32%/NH, 16%) and between musical activities and word finding (shared variance: CI, 53%/NH, 20%). Links were always stronger for children with CIs, for whom better phonological awareness was also linked to improved stress perception and more musical activity, and parental activities altogether shared significantly variance with word finding and VIQ. Conclusions: For children with CIs and NH, better perception of prosodic stress and musical activities with singing are associated with improved generative language skills. Additionally, for children with CIs, parental singing has a stronger positive association to word finding and VIQ than parental reading. These results cannot address causality, but they suggest that good perception of prosodic stress, musical activities involving singing, and parental singing and reading may all be beneficial for word finding and other generative language skills in implanted children.
  • Rosenqvist, Johanna; Lahti-Nuuttila, Pekka; Urgesi, Cosimo; Holdnack, James; Kemp, Sally L.; Laasonen, Marja (2017)
    Objectives: Performance on neurocognitive tasks develops with age, but it is still unknown whether this performance differs between children from different cultures. We compared cross-sectionally the development of neurocognitive functions in 3- to 15-year-old children from three countries: Finland, Italy, and the United States (N = 2745). Methods: Language, face memory, emotion recognition, theory of mind, and visuospatial processing subtests from the NEPSY-II standardizations in Finland, Italy, and the United States were used to evaluate if children and adolescents from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds differ in performance on these measures. Results: We found significant differences in performance on the tasks between the countries. Generally, the differences were more pronounced in the younger age groups. Some subtests showed greater country effects than others, performance on these subtests being higher, in general, in one country over the others, or showed different patterns of age associated changes in test performance. Conclusions: Significant differences in neurocognitive performance between children from Finland, Italy, and the United States were found. These findings may be due to cultural or educational differences that impact test performance, or due to factors associated with the adaptation of measures from one culture to another. The finding of performance differences across countries on similar tasks indicate that cross-cultural and background variables impact performance on neuropsychological measures. Therefore, clinicians need to consider a child's cultural background when evaluating performance on neuropsychological assessments. The results also indicate that future cross-cultural studies are needed to further examine the underlying cultural factors that influence neurocognitive performance.
  • Holopainen, Leena; Koch, Arno; Hakkarainen, Airi; Kofler, Doris (2020)
    We investigated the predictive power of cognitive skills and background variables of 769 first and second grade children learning to read two orthographically different languages Finnish and German in three countries Finland, Germany and Italy. Main results from stepwise regression models showed that in all countries word reading at first grade was best predicted by letter-sound-connection, as found in other transparent orthographies. In Italy and Finland also phoneme blending, a demanding phoneme awareness skill, was a good predictor. Surprisingly, in Germany initial phoneme identification which is a basic phone awareness skill, and mother's occupation predicted first grade reading. At second grade in Finland and Germany the strongest predictors of word reading were rapid naming, in Finland also short-term-memory and in Germany and Italy reading level at the first grade. Results indicate that both orthographical and educational differences in the three countries can account for different predictors in reading.
  • Torppa, Ritva; Huotilainen, Minna (2019)
    This paper presents evidence for a strong connection between the development of speech and language skills and musical activities of children and adolescents with hearing impairment and/or cochlear implants. This conclusion is partially based on findings for typically hearing children and adolescents, showing better speech and language skills in children and adolescents with musical training, and importantly, showing increases of speech and language skills in children and adolescents taking part in musical training. Further, studies of hearing-impaired children show connections between musical skills, involvement in musical hobbies, and speech and language skills. Even though the field is still lacking large-scale randomised controlled trials on the effects of musical interventions on the speech and language skills of children and adolescents with hearing impairments and cochlear implants, the current evidence seems enough to urge speech therapists, music therapists, music teachers, parents, and children and adolescents with hearing impairments and/or cochlear implants to start using music for enhancing speech and language skills. For this reason, we give our recommendations on how to use music for language skill enhancement in this group.