Project Overview & Key Findings

This project is the first to profile receptive and expressive prosodic skills systematically in children with spina bifida, and to investigate the relationship between prosody skills in this group. Below are video clips on the background and key findings of this project presented by the research team members.

What is Spina Bifida?

Presenter: Dr Olivia O’Mahony. Dr O’Mahony is a consultant paediatric neurologist working in Cork University Hospital and Mercy University Hospital, and is a collaborator on this project. In this video she explains the medical background of spina bifida and hydrocephalus, how prevalent spina bifida is in Ireland, and what kinds of difficulties children with spina bifida have.

Communication skills in children with Spina Bifida

Presenter: Damhnait Ní Mhurchú. Ms Ní Mhurchú is a senior speech and language therapist working in the Central Remedial Clinic Waterford, and is a collaborator on this project. In this video she discusses communication skills in children with spina bifida, including their areas of strength and areas of difficulty when it comes to receptive and expressive language skills.

What is Prosody?

Presenter: Dr Sue Peppé. Dr Peppé is a linguist, with research expertise in prosody and intonation in communication disorders. She is the developer of the PEPS-C test and is a collaborator on this project.  In this video she explains what prosody is, as well as the PEPS-C test which is a computerised test used to examine prosody skills in children and adults.

Description of the Prosody/Spina Bifida Study

Presenter: Dr Alice Lee. Dr Lee is a speech and language therapist, lecturer in Speech and Hearing Sciences at UCC, and the principal investigator of this project. In this video Dr Lee discusses the prosody/spina bifida study in detail, including the participant recruitment and the assessment protocol. She also explains the background of the study and the reason it was carried out.

Results of the study

Presenter: Ms Jennifer Harte. Ms Harte is one of the speech and language therapists who carried out the communication assessments with the child participants. In this video she discusses the results of the study in three sections – (1) the prosody results and the difference between the three groups of children, (2) the Expressive Affect results, and (3) a perceptual analysis of the children’s speech, based on a speech sample recorded during a story telling task.

What do these results mean?

Presenter: Prof Fiona Gibbon. Prof Gibbon is an Emeritus professor of UCC. She is a speech and language therapist and was Head of Speech and Hearing Sciences and School of Clinical Therapies at UCC until her retirement in July 2016. She is also a co-applicant on the current study. In this video she discusses the implication of the project results for children with spina bifida, as well as general advice for parents, teachers, student speech therapists etc.

HRB Prosody Project

Dept. of Speech & Hearing Sciences, Brookfield Health Sciences Complex, University College Cork, College Road, Cork