Speech sound disorders (DSM-5) in children are frequently found in clinical situations. In most children the cause of the disorder is unknown. Here, the definition, incidence and prevalence, error types, related factors (motor skills, speech sound perception, sibling influences), and comorbidity (autistic spectrum disorders, stuttering) of speech sound disorders were considered. In spite of their unknown causes, it is possible that the disorders are improved by appropriate speech therapy. However, because children with speech sound disorders may risk having problems with learning abilities or communication skills after correction, further follow-up is needed.
Vocal language is a human-specific behavior, but sub-components of vocal language can be found in other animals. In my strategy of biopsychological evolutionary linguistics, I first identify these sub-components in animals and consider how these sub-components (or pre-adaptation) could be synthesized to give rise to language. I hypothesize that vocal learning, string segmentation, and context segmentation are these pre-adaptations. I use songbirds and rodents to study each of these sub-components. Overall, I consider song as a precursor to language. Songs became complex through sexual and social selections. There are songs for each social situation. The common component of social situations and the common component of songs are mutually segmented and a part of song came to have a specific meaning. This process of mutual segmentation was repeated to give rise to vocal language.
Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a neurodegenerative syndrome characterized by insidious and progressive loss of language. In this paper, the concept of PPA and current clinical diagnosis criteria (Gorno-Tempini, et al., 2011) are briefly explained, followed by a description of two cases of nonfluent/agrammatic variant PPA who received treatment. Case 1 was followed for symptom changes over a long period, and diagnosed as corticobasal degeneration by postmortem examination. Case 2 received treatment for naming deficits, and its effects were investigated. Results showed immediate improvement of naming and maintenance of treated words in a short period, but no generalization to untreated words. Although the effects of treatment were limited, daily communication and living activities improved. Finally, methods for clinical assessment are described and intervention strategies and their respective significances are discussed.
In order to clarify changes of articulatory movement accompanying speech rate control, dynamic tongue-palate contact patterns were analyzed by electropalatography. The subjects were nine healthy adults who had no history of speech or hearing disorders. The first sentence from the "Kitakaze passage" was used as the speech sample, and the word-initial alveolar stop /t/ was analyzed. Eight rate control conditions were set, including five oral instructions and three forced rate control methods.
Compared with normal speed, speech rate was significantly lowered by instructions of "Speak slowly" and "Open your mouth wide," and by use of the "mora-by-mora method with finger-counting gestures" and "mora-by-mora and phrase-by-phrase counting with pacing board." In these cases, tongue-palate contact duration was extended and the contact area was expanded. With "phrase-by-phrase counting with pacing board," a slight duration of no tongue contact was observed between the preceding sound and the target /t/. There seemed to be extra time for articulatory movement.
By use of electropalatography, it was objectively confirmed that articulatory movement changed with lowering of speech rate.
This investigation retrospectively examined subtypes, sex, age at the first medical examination, job, main complaint, complication with other involuntary movement, period of affliction, consultation history and treatment outcomes for 85 cases of spasmodic dysphonia. The majority of participants were females in their 20s who were diagnosed with adductor spasmodic dysphonia. Over 70% of the participants were required to use their voice frequently in their work. Twenty-six percent of the participants were diagnosed within 6 months of the onset of voice problems; however, 34% had had voice symptoms for 5 years or more. The majority of participants visited multiple medical institutions, including departments of otolaryngology and psychosomatic medicine. The treatment most frequently received was voice therapy, followed by botulinum toxin injection and thyroplasty. Spasmodic dysphonia has recently received a good deal of attention, and the number of patients visiting hospital with this complaint has increased. For this reason, diagnostic criteria, standard evaluation methods, and environmental improvements are urgently required.
We examined the efficacy of voice therapy administered to patients who were diagnosed and treated for mutational dysphonia at our department between January 2000 and May 2015. The patients studied were all male, aged 13-25 years at the first visit; they had undergone mutational change at 12-15 years. The effectiveness of the therapy was assessed by hearing, psychological evaluation, laryngeal findings, objective evaluation (aerodynamic assessment, acoustic analysis), voice handicap index (VHI-10), and voice satisfaction before and after the voice therapy.
The results indicated that eight of the 10 patients showed sufficient improvement to terminate the voice therapy, the duration of which ranged from 8 to 1,433 days. Laryngeal endoscopic findings revealed that prior to therapy utterances showed a gap in glottis closure in four cases (40%), whereas after therapy the gap had disappeared in all four cases. Of the eight cases that improved to the point of enabling termination of therapy, seven returned to a normal voice. In the objective assessment, after therapy seven of the eight cases showed a decrease in F0, a drop in both the upper and lower vocal ranges, and a decrease in MFR. Satisfaction was obtained in all eight cases that were able to complete the therapy.
This article reported a fourth-grade child with moderate hearing impairment and ADHD, who showed writing deficits for Kanji words in spite of her normal general intellectual function and language development. In addition to performance on rapid reading aloud tasks, her performance on reading and writing of Kana and reading of Kanji in the Screening Test of Reading and Writing for Japanese Primary School Children (STRAW) was within normal range. In contrast, she showed scores below -1.5 SD in the Kanji word writing task of STRAW. The results indicated that she had a specific deficit in Kanji word writing. She produced scores below -1.5 SD in the delayed recall test of the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test, which served as a visual memory test, whereas her performance on all tests evaluating abilities of phonological processing, visual perception or automatization was within normal range. We hypothesize that visual memory deficits caused her deficits in Kanji word writing, as previous studies have indicated normal-hearing children showing a deficit in Kanji word writing.
Previous studies have indicated that stuttering influences the work life of adults who stutter (AWS). However, few studies have examined the situation in Japan. We conducted a questionnaire survey on the work life of 55 AWS. Results showed that for most of the AWS, stuttering affected job choice, and after getting their job, they encountered work difficulties owing to their stuttering, in particular, conversation via telephone. Furthermore, half the AWS felt that others were supportive about their stuttering. This tendency was more remarkable in AWS who "came out" about their stuttering than in those who did not, and in AWS who worked as professionals and/or technicians rather than office workers. It seems that reasonable accommodation, such as "being supportive of stuttering" or "waiting until the AWS starts speaking," is necessary.