Date of Graduation

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Education

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders

Advisor

Aslin, Larry

Reader

Frazier, Kimberly

Abstract

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) typically have deficits in communication abilities. Deficits include social, linguistic, and pragmatic difficulties and difficulties in the ability to perceive and integrate audiovisual (AV) stimuli. It is also common for those with ASD to have weaker speech reading skills as compared to typically developing, age-matched peers. Speech reading skills are known to enhance speech perception in naturalistic, noisy environments. In children with ASD, the combination of both poor AV integration and poor speech reading is thought to have significant effects on vocabulary acquisition. Studies have demonstrated that speech reading training can significantly enhance syllable discrimination in noise. However, it has not been investigated whether speech reading training could be generalized to more naturalistic stimuli such as words and in noisy environments. The purpose of the current study was to implement speech training in a child with ASD at the word level using a multiple baseline, changing criterion design. The child identified words in increasingly higher levels of background noise. During the baseline measures, AV speech was presented at a Signal to Noise Ratio, SNR, of 0dB. At the SNR of 0dB, both the speech and noise signals were equal. Speech reading training was implemented at the SNR of +4dB. At +4dB, the speech signal was louder than noise signal, making the task less challenging. The child was asked to watch and listen to the AV speech and choose what word he heard from a four choice list. The participant showed increases in receptive language processing over the course of the four training sessions when compared to the multiple baseline measures. Speech reading training enhanced receptive language processing for words in the SNR of 0dB from the initial pre-training baseline to post-training measure. The results from the study are consistent with previous findings that demonstrate increases in syllable identification after speech training using AV speech and suggest that such gains may also be trained for words in noisy environments.

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