Temporal processing is our perception of time for auditory signals reaching the brain. Clearly, within speech, music and other sound, ordering and processing the time element of sound is vital for good listening, reading, attention, and speech development. Much research conducted in this area supports the fact that poor auditory processing leads to poor phonological awareness as well as other deficits such as in sight word reading.
There are at least two elements of processing sound across time that are important. One is to be aware of the length of a sound and be able to recognize the differences in longer and shorter sounds. The second is to be able to follow pitch differences in a sequence of sounds.
Research by Walker* and her colleagues in 2006 give a good example of the type of findings in these two areas known as ‘duration pattern’ and ‘pitch pattern’ testing.
It is well understood that children who are poor readers usually have problems with phonological processing; the detection and manipulation of speech sounds. If these children are given sound with larger gaps or the sound is slowed down, it becomes easier for them to process. Walker tested the ability of children to identify the odd one out when three sounds were delivered; two sounds were the same length and one longer. This was also tested with two sounds of the same pitch and one higher.
A clear relationship was found between reading ability and the results of both the duration pattern and pitch pattern tests. Children who were poor non-word readers (phonological awareness) had poor scores in both duration pattern and pitch pattern testing. Interestingly, children who were poor lexical readers (sight word recognition) also performed badly on both of these tests. In comparison, strong readers performed well on both these tests. Research results for poor adult readers find that they still have challenges with duration pattern but not pitch pattern.
We need to be able to show whether a reading problem is related to auditory processing, areas of vision or some other factor. It is therefore an important part of an auditory screening to assess whether reading deficits relate to a fundamental challenge with processing the many pitch and time pattern changes in everyday speech.
TAVS, the Test of Auditory and Visual Skills is able to quickly assess both duration pattern and pitch pattern, with reference norms available from 5 years of age and up. Anyone working with literacy, listening and speech development can easily use this tool to gain important screening results in around 3 minutes per subtest.
If you are a professional in the field and would like to learn more training to become qualified in the administration of TAVS please click here or call Advanced Brain Technologies at 801.622.5676
* Walker, M. M., Givens, G.D., Cranford, J.L., Holbert, D. and Walker, L. (2006) Auditory pattern recognition and brief tone discrimination of children with reading disorders. Journal of Communication Disorders, 2006: Vol. 39, pp 442-45