Developmental Speech Production Laboratory
Lisa Goffman, Ph.D.
The Developmental Speech Production Laboratory is used to conduct research on speech, language, and motor relationships in early development. Infants and children who are typically developing and those who exhibit speech and language disorders participate in these studies. The laboratory contains a play area for the collection of speech, language and physiological data. Speech and language data are recorded using a Sony hi-8 mm camcorder, a two-channel Sony DAT audio- recorder, and a Crown PZM 180 microphone. A high resolution monitor and a Sony hi-8 mm VCR are used for the documentation of motor behaviors and to aid in speech and language transcription. Electromyographic data are obtained using Grass EMG amplifiers.
Respiratory and articulatory kinematic data are collected in a multi-user space then analyzed in this laboratory. Physiological and acoustic analyses are completed on a Gateway P5-90 computer. Data are stored on a Pinnacle micro 650 meg optical hard drive. A Tektronix TAS 220 two-channel oscilloscope is used to monitor physiological and acoustic signals. Physiological signals are digitized using AT CODAS, a Computer-based Oscillograph Data Acquisition System. Analyses are done using Matlab numeric computation and visualization software and Matlab Signal Processing Toolbox.
The major objective of research conducted in the Developmental Speech Production Laboratory is to discover how processes of motor and linguistic acquisition are linked across the course of development. Both language and motor capacities show dramatic shifts as the child develops. Further, language and motor deficits have been implicated in a number of clinical populations, such as specific language impairment and developmental apraxia of speech. Clearly, the child must be able to implement complex movements for the production of speech and language goals. Ultimately, an increased understanding of language-motor linkages should lead to modification of intervention approaches for these children.
Research projects have focused on children who are normally developing and those with speech production deficits and specific language impairment (SLI). Studies in our laboratory use physiological (kinematic and electromyographic) measures in tandem with traditional transcription and acoustic approaches. In one line of research, we are interested in understanding how movement output variables may contribute to explanations of children’s particular difficulty with specific prosodic and morphological forms. We record oral movements, along with standard acoustic and transcription methodologies, to examine how prosodic structure is implemented in movement.
Another set of studies focuses on how speech movements are organized for the production of phonetic segments. We have found that children produce speech movements that, though far more variable than those of adults, are equally well specified across different phonetic segments. We are also currently studying coarticulatory aspects of the organization of speech segments.
Every summer we are also involved, under the direction of Dr. Laurence Leonard, in a research program for children with SLI. In this program, children with SLI participate in a range of research and language intervention activities. To learn more about our summer research and intervention program, click here Summer Fun.
Members of the Developmental Speech Production Laboratory include Lisa Goffman, Andrea DiDonato. Several masters and undergraduate students also participate in laboratory activities.