Direct Magnitude Estimation of Articulation Rate in Boys With Fragile X Syndrome

Zajac, David J.; Harris, Adrianne A.; Roberts, Joanne E.; Martin, Gary E.
October 2009
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Oct2009, Vol. 52 Issue 5, p1370
Academic Journal
Purpose: To compare the perceived articulation rate of boys with fragile X syndrome (FXS) with that of chronologically age-matched (CA) boys and to determine segmental and/or prosodic factors that account for perceived rate. Method: Ten listeners used direct magnitude estimation procedures to judge the articulation rates of 7 boys with FXS only, 5 boys with FXS and a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and 12 CA boys during sentence repetition. Sentences had similar articulation rates in syllables per second as determined acoustically. Four segmental/prosodic factors were used to predict perceived rate: (a) percentage consonants correct, (b) overall fundamental frequency (F0) level, (c) sentence-final F0 drop, and (d) acoustically determined articulation rate with the final word of the sentence excluded. Results: Boys with FXS and ASD were judged to talk faster than CA controls. Multiple linear regression indicated that articulation rate with the final word of the sentence excluded and sentence-final F0 drop accounted for 91% of the variance for perceived rate. Conclusions: Descriptions of speakers with FXS as having fast and/or fluctuating articulation rates may be influenced by autism status. Also, atypical sentence-final prosody may be related to perceived rate in boys with FXS and ASD.


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