Prof Lucie Ménard Seminar

Prof Lucie Ménard Seminar

Date: Monday 29th July 2019, 2.00pm-3.00pm
Venue: Room 3.610, Level 3, Australian Hearing Hub, Macquarie University
Speaker: Professor Lucie Ménard, Université du Québec à Montréal

Host: Distinguished Professor Katherine Demuth 
Topic: Speech development in children with impaired articulatory or sensory systems

Learning to speak is a long process involving a complex interplay between cognitive, motor, and perceptual factors.When acquiring phonemes, children must learn how to reach a specific goal using immature perception and production systems. During childhood, the relationships between sensory goals and motor actions in speech are acquired through feedback mechanisms. Although many studies have examined speech development, little is known about the specific roles of auditory and somatosensory feedback in phonetic development. We review two studies that examined how children with impairments rely on sensory feedback to reach phonemic targets. One study looked at children with normal-hearing and deaf children with cochlear implants (impaired sensory system). In a second study, children with muscular dystrophy (impaired articulatory system) were recruited and vowels and consonants were recorded in different prosodic contexts (neutral and under contrastive emphasis) and perturbation conditions (with or without artificial perturbations of the articulators). Acoustic, articulatory, and perceptual analyses were conducted to assess the degree to which children reached the desired targets. Although intelligibility was altered in both groups of children with impaired articulatory or sensory systems, children used compensatory strategies to maximally preserve intelligibility. These results highlight the role of motor and sensory factors in shaping phonetic development.

Professor Lucie Ménard is the Founder and Director of the Phonetics Laboratory at Université du Québec à Montréal and Adjunct-director of the “Center for Research on Brain, Language, and Music—CRBLM. She has been engaged in a sustained program of studies of the development of speaker strategies for reaching intelligible multisensory speech goals. Her research has used a combination of instrumental measures (ultrasound imaging, optical and electromagnetic tracking of orofacial articulators), acoustic measures and modeling in sensory deprived young children and adults to investigate speech production during different developmental stages and under varying conditions of sensory feedback and speaking demands. To support this work, her lab has devised methods of obtaining and analyzing accurate ultrasound data on the tongue movements of children as young as two years old. Most recently, Professor Ménard has been involved in the development of clinical assessment tools (ultrasound imaging and virtual reality) for children with neuromuscular disease at the Living Lab Ste-Justine Pediatric Hospital.

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