Hearing, Auditory Processing, and Language Skills of Male Youth Offenders and Remandees in Youth Justice Residences in New Zealand Purpose International evidence suggests youth offenders have greater difficulties with oral language than their nonoffending peers. This study examined the hearing, auditory processing, and language skills of male youth offenders and remandees (YORs) in New Zealand. Method Thirty-three male YORs, aged 14–17 years, were recruited from 2 youth ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 01, 2017
Hearing, Auditory Processing, and Language Skills of Male Youth Offenders and Remandees in Youth Justice Residences in New Zealand
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sarah A. Lount
    The University of Auckland, New Zealand
  • Suzanne C. Purdy
    The University of Auckland, New Zealand
  • Linda Hand
    The University of Auckland, New Zealand
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Sarah Lount: swig006@aucklanduni.ac.nz
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird
    Associate Editor: Elizabeth Kay-Raining Bird×
Article Information
Development / Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / International & Global / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 01, 2017
Hearing, Auditory Processing, and Language Skills of Male Youth Offenders and Remandees in Youth Justice Residences in New Zealand
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, January 2017, Vol. 60, 121-135. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0131
History: Received April 8, 2015 , Revised September 4, 2015 , Accepted May 23, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, January 2017, Vol. 60, 121-135. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0131
History: Received April 8, 2015; Revised September 4, 2015; Accepted May 23, 2016

Purpose International evidence suggests youth offenders have greater difficulties with oral language than their nonoffending peers. This study examined the hearing, auditory processing, and language skills of male youth offenders and remandees (YORs) in New Zealand.

Method Thirty-three male YORs, aged 14–17 years, were recruited from 2 youth justice residences, plus 39 similarly aged male students from local schools for comparison. Testing comprised tympanometry, self-reported hearing, pure-tone audiometry, 4 auditory processing tests, 2 standardized language tests, and a nonverbal intelligence test.

Results Twenty-one (64%) of the YORs were identified as language impaired (LI), compared with 4 (10%) of the controls. Performance on all language measures was significantly worse in the YOR group, as were their hearing thresholds. Nine (27%) of the YOR group versus 7 (18%) of the control group fulfilled criteria for auditory processing disorder. Only 1 YOR versus 5 controls had an auditory processing disorder without LI.

Conclusions Language was an area of significant difficulty for YORs. Difficulties with auditory processing were more likely to be accompanied by LI in this group, compared with the controls. Provision of speech-language therapy services and awareness of auditory and language difficulties should be addressed in youth justice systems.

Acknowledgments
A special thank you to all those who made this research possible: staff and affiliated practitioners at the Youth Justice Residences and local high schools, as well as David Moore and Melanie Ferguson and the MRC Institute of Hearing Research. But most of all, to the young people and their families: kia kaha, kia toa, kia manawanui. A preliminary analysis of this research was presented orally at the New Zealand Speech-Language Therapists' Association 2014 Conference held in Wellington, New Zealand, in April 2014.
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