Refinement of Speech Breathing in Healthy 4- to 6-Year-Old Children PurposeThe purpose of this study was to offer a better understanding of the development of neuromotor control for speech breathing and provide a normative data set that can serve as a useful standard for clinical evaluation and management of young children with speech disorders involving the breathing subsystem.MethodSpeech breathing was ... Article/Report
Article/Report  |   August 01, 2009
Refinement of Speech Breathing in Healthy 4- to 6-Year-Old Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Carol A. Boliek
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Thomas J. Hixon
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Peter J. Watson
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Patricia B. Jones
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Contact author: Carol A. Boliek, who is now with the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, College of Rehabilitation Medicine, 3-18 Corbett Hall, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2G4, Canada. E-mail: carol.boliek@ualberta.ca.
  • Peter J. Watson is now with the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, University of Minnesota.
    Peter J. Watson is now with the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, University of Minnesota.×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech
Article/Report   |   August 01, 2009
Refinement of Speech Breathing in Healthy 4- to 6-Year-Old Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2009, Vol. 52, 990-1007. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/07-0214)
History: Received September 12, 2007 , Accepted September 22, 2008
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2009, Vol. 52, 990-1007. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2009/07-0214)
History: Received September 12, 2007; Accepted September 22, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 7

PurposeThe purpose of this study was to offer a better understanding of the development of neuromotor control for speech breathing and provide a normative data set that can serve as a useful standard for clinical evaluation and management of young children with speech disorders involving the breathing subsystem.

MethodSpeech breathing was studied in 60 healthy children, including 10 boys and 10 girls, each at ages 4, 5, and 6 years. A variable inductance plethysmograph was used to obtain volume changes of the rib cage, abdomen, and lung as well as temporal features of the breathing cycle.

ResultsResults indicated that breathing behavior was influenced by height and age but not gender. Some speech breathing behaviors were found to be highly variable, whereas others were more systematic.

ConclusionsThe data from this investigation demonstrate that the refinement of the speech breathing mechanism is gradual and presumably takes place from approximately 3–10 years of age. The rate of change associated with speech breathing parallels that observed in other subsystems of speech production.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported, in part, by National Multipurpose Research and Training Center Grant DC-01409 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. We are indebted to Nancy Kunze and Heather Lohmeier for their assistance in participant recruitment, data collection, and analysis. We are also indebted to the many student research assistants who aided in data acquisition and analysis. Their individual and collective suggestions have significantly strengthened the presentation of this work.
It should be noted that this is one of the last manuscripts that Tom Hixon authored before he passed away, and it represents but one of the many publications in his extremely prolific career. All of us who knew Tom as a mentor and friend cannot begin to express our gratitude for his exactness in science, for his willingness to teach, and for his unwavering defense of and compassion for those who are communicatively impaired.
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