Acoustic Characteristics of Stop Consonants in Children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Speech of children with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) has been little studied compared to language. Becker, Warr-Leeper, and Leeper (1990), found a relationship between prenatal alcohol exposure, oral motor control, and speech articulation. Behavioral tests suggest deficits in focal oral motor control specific to children with FAS (Bolinger & Dembowski, ... Article
Article  |   July 01, 2015
Acoustic Characteristics of Stop Consonants in Children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Christopher Bolinger
    Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX
  • James Dembowski
    Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX
  • Disclosures: Financial: Christopher Bolinger and James Dembowski have no financial interests to disclose.
    Disclosures: Financial: Christopher Bolinger and James Dembowski have no financial interests to disclose.×
  • Nonfinancial: Parts of this report were presented as a poster at the Spring 2011 meeting of the Acoustical Society of America.
    Nonfinancial: Parts of this report were presented as a poster at the Spring 2011 meeting of the Acoustical Society of America.×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Articles
Article   |   July 01, 2015
Acoustic Characteristics of Stop Consonants in Children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
SIG 5 Perspectives on Speech Science and Orofacial Disorders, July 2015, Vol. 25, 29-34. doi:10.1044/ssod25.1.29
History: Received March 24, 2015 , Revised May 4, 2015 , Accepted May 7, 2015
SIG 5 Perspectives on Speech Science and Orofacial Disorders, July 2015, Vol. 25, 29-34. doi:10.1044/ssod25.1.29
History: Received March 24, 2015; Revised May 4, 2015; Accepted May 7, 2015

Speech of children with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) has been little studied compared to language. Becker, Warr-Leeper, and Leeper (1990), found a relationship between prenatal alcohol exposure, oral motor control, and speech articulation. Behavioral tests suggest deficits in focal oral motor control specific to children with FAS (Bolinger & Dembowski, 2010). The current project extends that investigation through acoustic measures. Peak and mean frequencies of stop consonant releases were used to infer control of place of articulation. Voice onset time (VOT) was used to infer articulatory-laryngeal coordination. Preliminary measures on 3 experimental speakers and 2 matched neurotypical controls suggest higher stop consonant frequencies in the experimental group, with a poorer distinction between alveolar and velar stops than in the control group. Voiced VOT values were significantly longer for FAS children than for controls. Mean voiceless VOTs were similar across groups, but substantially more variable for the FAS children. Values may be interpreted as acoustic evidence for specific speech motor control deficits in FAS children relative to matched neurotypical children.

Acknowledgements
The West Texas FASD Diagnostic Team referred subjects, and its members were available for consultation as needed. Funding for the project was provided in part through an educational development grant from the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association. Special thanks to the TTUHSC Speech-Language Hearing Department faculty/staff for their support and guidance. Parts of this report were previously presented at the spring 2011 meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. Two anonymous reviewers provided insightful suggestions on the preparation of this manuscript.
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