Automated Screening for Speech Disorders Using Acoustic Landmark Detection (2017)

Marisha Speights, Keiko Ishikawa, Joel MacAuslan, Suzanne Boyce
The purpose of this study is to characterize differences in the speech of children with and without speech disorders by using an automated acoustic landmark based approach.
This pilot study explores entropy as a tool for characterizing differences in the landmark (LM) acoustic sequence between normal adults and children with and without a Speech Sound Disorder (SSD). Shannon’s Entropy and ROC analysis are used to evaluate the landmark patterns as potential diagnostic measures of atypical speech production. We discuss these results and our future work toward developing a fully automated clinical screening tool.

Introduction: Speech Disorders in Children

  • Speech requires precision in 1) planning and execution of articulatory targets and 2) sequencing the timing, direction, and force of the articulators. Speech is susceptible to decreased accuracy and precision due to the complexity of such movements 1,2
  • Most children effortlessly learn how to coordinate movements for normal speech production.2-5
  • About one in twelve preschool-aged children, however, show delays in speech production capability that may put them at risk for academic and behavioral difficulties, if not identified and treated.6

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