Training in rapid auditory processing ameliorates auditory comprehension in aphasic patients: a randomized controlled pilot study.
The acquisition of speech perception and consequent expression of language represent fundamental aspects of human functioning. Yet roughly 7% to 8% of children who are otherwise healthy and of normal intelligence exhibit unexplained delays and impairments in acquiring these skills. Ongoing research has revealed several key features of language disability that may provide more direct insight into underlying anomalous neural functioning. For example, evidence supports a strong association between basic defects in processing rapidly changing acoustic information and emergent disruptions in speech perception, as well as cascading effects on other forms of language development (including reading). Considerable neurobiological research has thus focused on developmental factors that might deleteriously influence rapid sensory processing. Additional research focuses on mechanisms of neural plasticity, including how such brains might be "retrained" for improved processing of language. These and related findings from human clinical studies, electrophysiological studies, neuroimaging studies, and animal models are reviewed.