Scientific Committee: Stefania Capizzuto, Paola Orlando, Paola Steffani.
Founded by
Adriana De Filippis
Periodicity: january, may, october

Vol. 13, n. 2, 2017

Table of Contents

Emanuela Schiavello

Editoriale

Ricerca internazionale

Alfonso Borragán Torre Marián Agudo Leguina Mª José González Gutiérrez María Borragán Salcines

Improved elasticity for repairing and strengthening the voice. PROEL method

DOI: 10.14605/LOG1321701

It is becoming more and more evident as time passes that behind dysphonia lie inflammatory processes that have caused it: nasal pathologies (rhinitis, adenoiditis, sinusitis), immune system pathologies (autoimmune diseases, chronic inflammations, allergies and intolerances, Waldeyer’s ring infections), digestive tract pathologies (acid and base reflux, digestive permeability), food contaminated with chemical agents, metals or pesticides, stress and exaggerated emotional responses, hormonal problems, excessive ambient noise, incorrect posture, contaminated environments (factories, hair salons, paint), and the use of medication (bronchodilators, inhaled corticoids). Any voice disorder will necessarily require great effort in using the voice. It is currently possible to resolve more than 95% of vocal disorders, by means of medical, vocal or surgical therapy. The patient and voice specialist require effectiveness, in other words the best and most long-lasting solution in a short time. Slow methods like those based on relaxation and breathing cannot satisfy these requirements. Consequently, systems based upon elasticity and kinetic energy are delivering excellent results. These methods can also be used to strengthen normal voices and turn everyone’s voice into a work of art. Our calling card is our voice and the way we express ourselves.

Ricerca italiana

Luigi Marotta Ilaria Cacopardo

Early intervention in speech, language and communication disorders

DOI: 10.14605/LOG1321702

In Italy almost thirty per cent of referrals to the Child and Adolescent Services concern language and communication disorders. What clinical intervention models are there which have scientific evidence of efficiency and efficacy and at the same time are affordable for the National Health Service? In 2012 Law proposed a three-level model of action, also known as the Three Waves Model. The first level is defined as «universal intervention» and is generic and available to all children. The second level, called «targeted intervention», is used for the provision of services to specific subgroups of children who have been identified as being in need and who the services anticipate will respond to the intervention concerned. The third level, «specialist intervention», is reserved for children whose speech, language or communication need has persisted despite earlier intervention and support or who need specialist approaches to address their impairments.

Ricerca italiana

Giovanni Valeri

Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder: Research prospects and clinical practice

DOI: 10.14605/LOG1321703

For decades clinicians have described children who present an atypical development of social-communication and pragmatic skills as a salient clinical feature, nevertheless the best nosographic conceptualization of these difficulties still remains controversial. This debate has become even more significant with the introduction of a new disorder to the DSM-5 (APA, 2013), as part of Communication Disorders, within the larger domain of Neurodevelopment Disorders: Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder (SPCD), and the proposed introduction of Pragmatic Language Impairment (PLI) to the ICD-11. The debate is made particularly complicated by the complexity and ambiguity of the definition of Pragmatics, the inconsistency in terminology and diagnostic criteria, the scarcity of reliable assessment tools and culturally valid normative data, as well as the limited comparison of pragmatic competence/social-communication profiles in several neurodevelopmental disorders (Norbury, 2014; Valeri, 2014a). In the article we present some assessment tools available in Italian and some proposals for therapeutic intervention.

Ricerca italiana

Maria Carmen Usai Laura Traverso Laura Gandolfi Paola Viterbori

The assessment of executive functions in preschool age

DOI: 10.14605/LOG1321704

The assessment of executive functions in preschool age requires us to pay attention to the characteristics of development of these processes and to certain issues regarding context and measurement tools. This article will illustrate these topics and present a battery for the assessment of executive functions created on the basis of the methodological considerations described.

Ricerca italiana

Antonio Amitrano

Management of patients with dysphagia: The role of the speech therapist

DOI: 10.14605/LOG1321705

Caring for a patient with dysphagia is one of the core activities of the speech therapist. Swallowing disorders may arise at any age, even if the increased need of treatment is linked to the progressively ageing population. Notwithstanding the differences in the clinic process, the speech language pathologist plays a primary role in every stage, from the first screening up to home care and caregivers’ training. Early treatment is crucial in order to avoid weight loss, dehydration, recurring pneumonia, chest congestion and eating phobia. The treatment follows two different patterns: compensation and rehabilitation. Collaboration with all health professionals is the key to ensuring that patients with dysphagia eat safely.

Scientific literature shows that newborns hospitalised in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) — premature, low weight or with neurological damage — have today, thanks to cutting-edge interventions, a higher chance of survival, but at the same time they are also at increased risk of developing difficulties in several developmental areas. There are also numerous studies of scientific evidence with an international profile supporting early intervention with oral-motor stimulation in order to favour the passage of the newborn’s nutrition from a passive one to an independent one exclusively per os and therefore reduce hospitalisation time. The Speech and Language Therapy approach, which works in close collaboration with a multidisciplinary team, envisages an intervention that starts from the NICU organisational model and is after directed at the infant and the parents.

Ricerca italiana

Andrea Biancardi Enrica Mariani Manuela Pieretti

The language of numbers. The development of numerical and arithmetical competences with reference to linguistic abilities

DOI: 10.14605/LOG1321707

Language, in the world of numbers, is crucial in order to allow us to organise all situations where we manage quantities: well before counting, reciting the nursery rhyme of the multiplication tables or reading numbers, children use language to describe the numerosities of the world they live in. Developmental models of numerical processing and calculation identify three main sets of factors in learning basic maths: an innate component, a linguistic component and a visual-spatial component. In children up to five years of age a motor component can also be identified, which is gradually abandoned when the learning is formalised through teaching. It is knowledge of the developmental trajectories of competence and the specific elements that encourage it that leads to the real possibility of offering activities aimed at enhancing early arithmetic skills.

The evaluation phase of Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia (DVD) is crucial for the professional to make an informed choice about treatment options in cases where a serious verbal expression deficit, often accompanied by a phonetic-phonological disorder, is diagnosed in a child. Clearly, in cases of DVD, and especially in DVD with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS), we deem therapeutic interventions on the speech apparatus to be of paramount importance. With this paper, however, we would like to highlight the fact that a specific ability to evaluate phonetic/phonological aspects is also needed. The evaluation in question should be targeted and comprehensive, and should be performed by speech therapists with expertise both in the field of DVD and in that of phonetic-phonological deficit. In this context, we will thus address several aspects of the evaluation of children with either no verbal communication or unintelligible speech, and illustrate, in both cases, how correct evaluation is fundamental for a targeted and specific treatment plan.

Studi

Itala Riccardi Ripamonti Laura Cerminara Deborah Carta

LEPI – Expressive Language Early Childhood. Test for the evaluation of expressive morphosyntactic skills in pre-schoolers

DOI: 10.14605/LOG1321709

The LEPI test (Expressive Language Early Childhood) is proposed as an evaluation instrument of expressive morphosyntactic skills for children aged between 3 and 6 years. The study, which led to the final implementation of the instrument, had the objective of identifying typical patterns of development in Italian-speaking children and early indicators of morphosyntactic difficulties in children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI). The test was administered to 298 Italian children with typical development, 280 (153 females and 127 males) of whom were included in the standardisation sample, and to 52 children with language disorders, 47 of whom were included in the analysis, with the purpose of verifying the diagnostic efficiency of the test. The elaboration aims to contribute to the diagnosis and the rapid, targeted intervention of these specific difficulties, which, if left untreated, can have a negative impact on academic training, even after many years.

Studi

Simona Bernardini

BAB – Behavior Assessment Battery for School-Age Children Who Stutter

DOI: 10.14605/LOG1321710

With regard to assessment tools for children who stutter (CWS) we present the Italian form of three self-report test procedures (Speech Situation Checklist, Behavior Checklist and Communication Attitude Test), which are a part of the Behavior Assessment Battery for School-Age Children Who Stutter (BAB). Each of them has been separately standardised on Italian school-age children who stutter and their peers who do not (ages range from 6 to 16). These self-report procedures provide the clinician with a multi-dimensional «inside view» of the speech and speech-related difficulties that have brought the client in for assessment and help. In other words, through the eyes of the client, the self-reports bring the clinician’s attention to the negative emotional, speech disruptive, secondary adjustive and attitudinal elements of the presenting complaint. The BAB self-report measures provide a clinical road map that is tailored to meet the particular needs of the client.

Studi

Donatella Tomaiuoli Biancamaria Venuti

Treating people who stutter: Intervention methodologies

DOI: 10.14605/LOG1321711

Over the years, a number of authors have highlighted that stuttering is a complex, multi-factorial and multi-dimensional disorder and that at the same time there is much more to stuttering than a superficial analysis of observable symptoms. The consequences of stuttering have repercussions at various levels that go beyond the mere analysis of observable speech disfluencies. The complex interaction among different factors, each with their own clout, produces different outcomes, depending on how these characteristics interact and merge in every individual. As a consequence, stuttering may take different forms depending on the individuals that it affects. In accordance with the above, we need to give a multi-dimensional character to its assessment and treatment, and to differentiate the latter from individual to individual, depending on the way in which these factors combine and how the disorder manifests in each individual.

Studi

Ugo Cesari Stefania D’Apice Pasqualina Apisa

Awareness of the vocal mechanism in singing

DOI: 10.14605/LOG1321712

The teaching of singing is often debated and opinions may diverge. Starting from anatomy and physiology to teach the vocal emission technique would be a starting point without misunderstandings for all. The aim of this study was to verify how awareness of the vocal instrument and the combined work of the speech therapist and phoniatric expert could improve the performance of the singer. Five singers with no anatomical and physiological knowledge of vocal emission, all with difficulties in changing register, were submitted to laryngeal endoscopy and aerophonic analysis. They then participated in an individual short training programme consisting of 6 sessions with a speech therapist, in which they were given notions of anatomy and physiology, also by watching videos of physiological vocal emissions during an artistic performance. The obtained results showed improvement during register change in all cases. Awareness of vocal mechanism and visual feedback of their body, during vocal emission where difficulties had been reported, clearly helped the singers. Through training, in light of the knowledge learnt, they are likely to obtain automatisation of the correct vocal emission mechanism.

Studi

Maja Roch

Improving language skills in bilingual children

DOI: 10.14605/LOG1321713

This paper aims to provide an overview and discussion of some recent interventions for improving the language skills of bilingual children who acquire Italian as L2. The peculiarity of the bilingual child’s language development is that the acquisition of the two languages must take place within the same time frame and with the same amount of resources as applicable for the linguistic development of monolingual children. Consequently, the demand for new intervention tools aimed at providing greater language stimulation for bilingual children is growing. In this paper, two intervention tools for language skills for pre-school bilingual children are presented. Parlaspesa is a tool developed for mobile devices and has the objective of facilitating the acquisition of new words. It is a tool which is particularly suitable for bilingual children in the early stages of the acquisition of Italian as L2. The second intervention is aimed at developing text comprehension and its components and is suitable for children aged 5 years and upwards and provides support for the development of relevant skills for later literacy learning.

Bilingualism is a dynamic and dimensional phenomenon and multiple typologies of bilingualism can be defined. In this review we will analyse studies on children who usually speak a minority language at home (L1) and who are exposed to an L2 at school. These children are often referred to as sequential minority language bilingual children. The paper will analyse the evolutionary trajectories related to the main stages of language development in L2, both considering studies conducted on children exposed to English as an L2, and recent studies conducted on children exposed to Italian as L2. Specifically, the review focuses on the developmental trajectories of academic skills, such as reading, writing, reading comprehension and acquisition of a foreign language. The results show distinct developmental trajectories in relation to specific functions and linguistic exposure. The implications for evaluation and clinical practice will be discussed.