1 LIMAT Lab, Physics Department, Faculty of Science Ben M’Sik, Casablanca, Morocco
2 LAPSTICE Lab, Communication and Language Department, Faculty of Science Ben M’Sik, Casablanca, Morocco
The present paper aims at establishing a minimum assessment protocol to estimate the prevalence of communication disorders, their severity and the correlation between identified communication disorders and oral communication activities among students.
Material and Methods:
A questionnaire was built using assessments published in current literature, which consists of 14 sections.
The first section gathers demographic information such as age, gender, and level of education as well as history of speech therapy services (e.g. “do you consult a speech therapist?”).
The second section asks about the ability to communicate verbally in public in social situations and the possible causes that impact a student’s ability to communicate effectively.
The third section deals with the attitudes of the student before, during and after communicating, specifically focusing on questions related to stuttering.
The proposed assessment also identified the severity of stuttering as well as any secondary behaviours associated with stuttering (e.g. eye blinking, tics, face spasms, etc.).
Sections 4 through 13 are concerned with questions related to communication disorders such as: articulation disorders, language delays, dysphasia, swallowing disorders, hearing loss, cleft lip or palate, aphasia, attention disorders, dyslexia, and dysphonia.
The last section deals with acoustic analysis, using Praat Software, where a recording of the sustained vowel /a/ is performed by each participant in order to have an overview of the following acoustic parameters: pitch, harmonics to noise ratio, shimmer and jitter.
Participants included in this study were between 18 and 22 years of age who were in their 1st or 2nd year of department of science of the Ben M’Sik College -University Hassan II Mohammedia.
The questionnaire was completed by 170 students, which insures a confidence interval of 4 and confidence level of 95%.
Among the sample, 58% of students are male, and 42% are female.
The studied sample demonstrated that 75% of the students do not feel comfortable when engaging in verbal communication in social situation, which was highly correlated with stuttering.
Lack of self-confidence, stage fright, lack of experience, shyness and the presence of an important group are 80% of the causes students do not feel at ease when publicly speaking in front of an unfamiliar group.
The study revealed that 20% of students had fluency disorders, 15% had articulation disorders, 21% had swallowing disorders, 19% had dysphasia, 1% of the students had hearing loss, 14% had attention disorders, 10% had dyslexia, and 6% had dysphonia.
The major finding of the present paper was that 54% of the students studied were identified as having a language delay.
Subjective assessments of the communication disorders are complemented with objective assessments based on acoustic analysis of the sustained vowel /a/ recorded from the studied sample.
Based on the conducted research, we found that communication disorders impact the oral communication activities with a percent of 27%.
By using objective assessments to analyse the threshold of acoustic parameters such as jitter, shimmer, mean harmonic to noise ratio and minimum and maximum pitch, we can determine the presence or absence of a voice disorder.
The present paper proposes a ready-to-use assessment of communication disorders.
The proposed model can be used with large groups as well as with individual students.
Subjective assessment used in combination with objective assessments allow for a complete evaluation of communication disorders.
Keywords: Assessment of communication disorders, Acoustic analysis, Communication disorders, Oral communication in public, Stuttering assessment, Voice disorders.
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* Address correspondence to this author at the LIMAT Lab, Physics Department, Faculty of Science Ben M’Sik, Casablanca, Morocco; Tel: 00212650352972; E-mail: email@example.com