Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


UC researcher seeking to improve childhood speech disorder

UC researcher seeking to improve childhood speech disorder 
 
December 9, 2012
 
A University of Canterbury (UC) study is looking at how best to improve the literacy and education achievements of New Zealand children who struggle with speech disorders.
 
UC senior literacy lecturer Dr Brigid McNeill is conducting a national study by following 54 children aged five to seven years with suspected childhood apraxia of speech.
 
Childhood apraxia of speech is a poorly understood speech disorder. There are huge gaps in knowledge about how to diagnose it properly, what aspects of communication and literacy development are likely to be affected and how best to support children with the disorder. 
 
``Traditionally, the disorder has been thought of as a purely ‘motor’ impairment with children’s difficulty pronouncing sounds thought to be due to difficulty planning movements for speech,’’ Dr McNeill said today.
 
``More recently, concerns over the language and literacy development of those affected have received attention in the literature. Such findings implicating language and literacy development in those affected have cast some doubt over whether this can be viewed as a purely ‘motor planning’ disorder. 
 
``My current project is the first study of its kind to explore the broad profile of children with the suspected disorder over time with a large sample. Children in the study participate in a comprehensive speech, language and literacy assessment five times during the two year study.
 
``Speech production, oral movements, vocabulary knowledge, listening comprehension, storytelling, grammatical skill, reading and spelling are among the areas of development monitored. The study draws participants from Northland to Dunedin. Data collection for the project is nearing completion, with the participants undergoing their final assessment in the next three months.’’
 
Dr McNeill said initial analysis of the results showed participants were generally affected in their motoric, language and literacy development.  More than 75 percent of children in the study required support in at least one area in addition to speech production.
 
More work was needed to be done to enhance the literacy and educational achievement of children with the disorder in New Zealand, she said.
 
``Children with severe speech difficulty are usually referred for speech and language therapy support in the pre-school years. There’s a lot we could be doing to facilitate early literacy development in this group rather than waiting for difficulties to be recognised later on.
 
``These findings have huge implications for the selection of speech therapy approaches for the group. It seems that it is not enough to work on ‘output’ or speech movement skills alone for many children with the disorder. Such an approach is likely to ignore the broader underlying difficulty and do little to enhance early literacy development.
 
``The results show a need to integrate speech therapy and educational support for children with speech disorder. Such a model has the best chance of seeing children affected by such difficulties meet their communication and academic potential,’’ she said.
 
About five percent of New Zealand children are affected by some form of speech disorder. Dr McNeill’s project has received $300,000 from a Marsden Fund fast start research grant for excellent early career researchers.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Cricket: Dramatic Win Puts Black Caps In Finals

In Parliament: When Parliament resumed at 2pm the House passed a motion on a voice vote admiring the performance of the New Zealand cricket team in last night’s World Cup semi-final and wishing them well for the final on the weekend. More>>

ALSO:

Moon Shot/Kills Switch: The X Factor Judges Removed

MediaWorks has today decided that Natalia Kills and Willie Moon are no longer suitable to judge The X Factor and have removed them from the show. MediaWorks CEO, Mark Weldon, said that last night on The X Factor both Kills and Moon made comments that were completely unacceptable. More>>

ALSO:

Tessa Nichol: Up Up & Away In The Wairarapa

It’s an overcast morning in the Wairarapa but the mood on the ground in Carterton’s Carrington Park is anything but grey. More than 20 hot air balloons are getting ready to take off into the cloudy sky to mark the start of this year’s Wairarapa Balloon Festival. More>>

Golden Shears: Scotsman Wins Golden Shears Open Final

A Scottish shearer who settled in New Zealand to farm in Taranaki has become the first shearer from overseas to win the Golden Shears Open Shearing Championship. More>>

ALSO:

Shipped On A Bottle: Young Change-Makers Take To The Sea On Plastic Bottle Kayaks

With the aim of harnessing innovative design to construct kayaks solely from recycled materials, the “waste positive” project Plastic Bottle Kayak brings adventure into Kiwi classrooms. The call is out now for classrooms to send in messages and artwork to be inserted into the bottles. More>>

TV3 Video: Auckland Arts Festival Kicks Off

The Auckland Arts Festival kicks off March 4, with artists from New Zealand and all over the world on show. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news