Based on our survey of children with cochlear implants (CI) in Japan, the data shows an increase in both CI and bilateral CI cases. Bilateral CI revealed better end results than first CI in terms of speech intelligibility in both silent surroundings and a noisy environment, due to reported improvements in directionality, listening using the second CI, and tinnitus relief. At the same time, CI has been approved as a method of treatment for single-sided deafness (SSD) overseas, with a number of recent reports noting its effectiveness. Moreover, auditory-verbal education after CI is an important step in CI, along with music therapy to help strengthen auditory processing. With early detection, diagnosis and hearing aid (HA) implementation, adoption of better guidelines, and advances in examination equipment, HA and CI devices, and related education, speech-language therapists specialized in treating hearing-impaired individuals in Japan today have abundant possibilities for future applications.
In the present study, we examined the relationship between hiragana reading/writing acquisition and letter properties. For letter properties, we used visual complexity, letter frequency as obtained from our large-scale picture book corpus, and order of appearance in the hiragana 50-sound table. Hiragana reading and writing accuracy rankings were obtained from the dataset of the National Institute of Japanese Language for 4- to 5-year-old toddlers, and the relationships with letter properties were examined. Hiragana reading accuracy rankings significantly correlated with letter frequency in picture books and order of appearance in the hiragana 50-sound table. For hiragana writing, visual complexity significantly correlated, in addition to letter frequency and order of appearance in the hiragana 50-sound table. In further analysis, hiragana letters were divided into three groups based on hiragana reading and writing accuracy rankings. We examined which letter properties can predict hiragana reading and writing performance using ordered logistic regression analysis. Letter frequency significantly predicted both reading and writing performance, whereas visual complexity predicted hiragana writing only. These results imply differential contributions of letter properties for reading and writing, with visual exposure in picture books playing a critical role for reading acquisition, but visual exposure and visual recognition apparently critical for writing acquisition. The present study did not investigate the influence of children's speaking or letters included in their own name, however. Further study is needed to achieve a comprehensive understanding of toddlers' hiragana reading and writing acquisition.
The purpose of study #1 was to examine the validity of analytical evaluation perspectives when evaluating writing by deaf children. The purpose of study #2 was to examine the relationship between use of multiple linguistic features in compositions by deaf children and evaluation by evaluative impression. A total of 48 compositions were examined: 24 written by hearing-impaired children in higher grades of elementary school for the deaf and 24 by hearing-impaired students at the junior high school level. The compositions were rated by 10 teachers of these respective deaf school groups using seven analytical evaluations based on the 7-point Likert scale and holistic evaluation on the 10-point Likert scale, ranging from good to bad. In study #2, 48 linguistic features were used for analysis based on multivariate data. In study #1, multiple regression analysis with rate of analytical evaluation as an explanatory variable and with rate of holistic evaluation as a target variable revealed that the seven-point analytical evaluative scale was valid for assessing compositions written by deaf children. Also, the seven-point analytical evaluative scale was aggregated into upper-order categories based on the results of partial correlation coefficients calculated for each scale. In study #2, regression analysis with rate of linguistic feature as an explanatory variable and with rate of each evaluative scale as a target variable by random forest results indicated that analytical evaluation was related to usage of a certain linguistic feature. Furthermore, cluster analysis based on the standard value of linguistic features written in a composition suggests that literary styles composed of several linguistic features have effect on analytical evaluation of writing.
The purpose of this study was to investigate predictors of picture naming performance using 259 original colored pictures. We conducted picture naming tasks and rating tasks to a total of 379 native Japanese speakers (18-77 years old) and analyzed the naming performance of 213 pictures, excluding those showing differences in accuracy due to age. Multiple regression analysis showed that the major determinants of picture naming performance were name agreement and image agreement. It was also revealed that the determinants of accuracy were age of acquisition, familiarity and frequency, while those of latency were imageability, frequency and age of acquisition. These results suggested that familiarity, frequency and age of acquisition are involved in accurate phonological encoding of the phonological output lexicon. It is likely that imageability is involved in naming accurately and quickly, because not only the activity of the phonological output lexicon but also the activity of semantics is indispensable.
An auditory picture-pointing task was used to investigate external discrimination, i.e. discrimination of speech sounds produced by others, in seven children with articulation disorders. No children included in the study had received any articulation training. Non-disordered children aged 3 and 4 years (10 each) were used as the control group.
A one-fourth selection task consisting of the two-mora words "ka-me" and "sa-me," together with /k/ and /s/ as initial sounds combined with "a-me" and "ma-me," which have the same succeeding sounds, was carried out to calculate the number of total correct answers and the percentage of terms selected from the lexicon, and to determine the reaction time. The results demonstrated that the external discrimination ability in the group of children with articulation disorders substituting the initial sound /k/ was similar to that observed in the control group of children aged 4 years. In contrast, the results further indicated that the group of children with articulation disorders substituting the initial sound /s/ had similar external discrimination ability to that of the control group of children aged 3 years.
Our investigation of the external discrimination ability of children with articulation disorders indicated that some sounds may be easy to discriminate and others difficult to discriminate, depending on the patterns of articulation errors. The results suggested that awareness of one's own articulation of speech sounds may be important in acquiring articulation.
A girl with Katakana dyslexia combined with mild hearing impairment was administered a training method using good verbal memory. She demonstrated fair phonological long-term memory despite her poor phonological awareness, showing a cognitive profile similar to the profiles of developmental dyslexia cases without hearing impairment. After confirming her willingness, Katakana training was conducted according to the auditory method previously reported for developmental dyslexia cases. Her hand-writing of 46 consecutively presented and randomly presented one-mora words was evaluated before and after the training. The correct writing rate significantly improved both in the consecutively presented moras (34 before training to 46 after training; P<0.01) and in the randomly presented moras (80 before training to 101 after training; P<0.01). As long as long-term verbal memory is maintained, bypass training can be adapted to dyslexic cases with hearing impairment.
In clinical settings, therapists always need to approach not only their patient's speech method but also their psychosocial aspects such as irrational thought, emotions, and dysfunctional behavior related to stuttering.
We report the case of a 19-year-old female nursing student suffering from severe stuttering. At the initial visit, she confessed that she desired to take sick leave to avoid the burden of undergoing practical training at her hospital. To treat the patient, we provided a "mental rehearsal" program (MR program) based on the principles of Retrospective Approach to Spontaneous Speech (RASS). The MR program is a treatment method for stuttering created by Tsuzuki based on RASS theory. In this therapy, therapists focus on emotional issues related to stuttering rather than on the speech method itself. The MR program contains systematic desensitization and imaginative exercises to supplant their negative experience. The patient performs utterances, assertive behavior, etc. while imagining a relaxed state under the guidance of the therapist.
After about 5 months of the treatment, the patient reported less frequent disfluencies and demonstrated improved scores on MAS (Manifest Anxiety Scale), STAI (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory), and SADS (Social Anxiety Disorder Scale). As a result, she could successfully complete her practical training.
In the present case, the patient reported improvement of stuttering symptoms as well as related thought and behavior. These results suggest the MR program may be an efficacious treatment method for stuttering.
A mental rehearsal method with a chronological table system was used for an adult stutterer, and its treatment efficacy was investigated using a stuttering test, self-assessment of reactions in discourse situations, and an egogram before and after therapy. The patient was a 21-year-old male university student who had begun stuttering at around the age of 3. The developmental stage of his stuttering during free conversation was phase 4, and his stuttering was of moderate to severe severity. The speech samples used in the stuttering test were free conversation, personal information, reading words aloud, and reading text aloud, all of which could be compared before and after therapy. Non-fluency, core symptoms of the stuttering, and associated symptoms were analyzed. The results of the stuttering test showed decreases in the frequency of non-fluency and the frequency of the core symptoms of the stuttering after therapy, compared with before therapy. The degree of associated symptoms also decreased after therapy. In the self-assessments of reactions in discourse situations, the frequencies of avoidance, reaction, and stuttering all decreased after therapy. However, the developmental stage was maintained at phase 4. A mental rehearsal method was effective in improving stuttering not only in test situations but also in discourse situations in daily life.