First Advisor

Carolyn Quam

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Speech and Hearing Sciences and University Honors


Speech and Hearing Sciences




Language disorders in children, Auditory perception, Children -- Language




This study a part of a broader study including Quam et al. (2020) and Yu (2020) with the aim of understanding how children with and without developmental language disorder learn language. With a better understanding of the underlying learning mechanisms affected in DLD, better interventions can be implemented. The current study investigates explicit language learning in preschoolers with and without developmental language disorder (DLD). This was done by observing sound discrimination and explicit sound-meaning mapping. One child with DLD and 29 children with typical language development (TLD) participated in this study. Inclusion in each group was determined by a hearing screening and standardized assessments of language and cognitive skills. Participants completed two computer-based tasks that assessed pitch and duration discrimination and explicit mapping of pitch- and duration- contrasted sounds to objects. This study showed that children with TLD were more successful in discriminating pitch than duration. Children with TLD were more successful in mapping pitch-contrasted sounds to meanings than they were with duration-contrasted sounds. There was a positive association between children’s discrimination scores and their success in mapping sounds to meanings. The participant with DLD also showed more success in pitch-contrasted sound discrimination over duration-contrasted sound discrimination, and discrimination scores seemed to be associated with success in mapping sounds to meanings.


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