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Acoustic Properties of Children's Voices and Their Impact on Communication


Project Leader
Bloom, Kathleen   

The ability to read aloud, along with phonological processing skills, contribute to the foundation of strong literacy skills. Children use their voices as vehicles for pronunciation and to build meaning with other users of their language. Reading aloud holds special challenges for children with hypernasal resonance, or other speech disorders, for two reasons. First, as they read aloud these children hear distorted, incorrect pronunciations that could hamper word learning. Second, our recent research indicates that, based on hearing the speech of children with even mild levels of hypernasality, peers and adults form impressions of these children as poorer readers, and as generally less intelligent and less likeable.

1. Using a new treatment (voice training under continuous positive airway pressure) designed to reduce hypernasality, we will determine whether reading fluency, reading confidence, and reactions of peers and teachers become more favourable as nasal resonance decreases.

2. In partnership with speech-language pathologists from across Canada, we will systematically collect a database of hundreds of voice samples of school-age children ranging in nasal resonance from normal to moderate hypernasality. We will produce sample voice CDs, assessment training protocols, and national norms that relate nasalance (% nasal airflow) and perceived nasality to reading fluency, and to perceptions of the child, by self, peers, and teachers, as an oral reader.

3. We will assess children’s self-perceptions as “readers” in the context of silent and out-loud reading, and correlate self-perceptions with reading abilities.

LAST MODIFIED: February 06 2004 13:25:35

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