Neuropsychological profile of children with childhood apraxia of speech

Research Opportunity
PhD students
Department / Centre
Paediatrics
Location
Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Professor Angela Morgan angela.morgan@mcri.edu.au +61 (3) 8341 6458 Personal web page

Summary Neuropsychological profile of children with childhood apraxia of speech This project will examine cognitive contributions in childhood apraxia of speech associated with our speech genetics clinic at the Royal Children’s Hospital. A greater understanding of cognitive contributions to the condition, combined with new genomic data, will lead to more targeted therapeutic interventions and help to explain the mechanisms which lead to this symptom profile.

Project Details

Supervisors: Angela Morgan and David Amor

Childhood speech disorders are common, affecting 1 in 20 preschool children in the general population. Yet these children present with mild articulation or phonological disorders that typically resolve with or without intervention. By contrast, approximately 1 in 1,000 patients present with a persistent and less tractable speech disorder known as childhood apraxia of speech (CAS). Three core symptoms support a CAS diagnosis: including inconsistent errors on consonants and vowels; lengthened and disrupted coarticulatory transitions between sounds and syllables; and inappropriate prosody (ASHA 2007). Lifelong impairment is seen, with psychosocial impact, literacy deficits, and restricted educational and employment outcomes. Why is CAS so much more persistent than other speech conditions? Increasing evidence has shown a genetic basis for up to 1 in 3 children with CAS. Novel molecular pathways have also been revealed, indicating a role for transcriptional dysregulation. This mechanism is associated with altered brain development which results in the CAS symptomatology, along with other commonly shared deficits such as impaired motor skill development. To date, few studies have examined neuropsychological strengths and challenges in children with CAS. A greater understanding of cognitive contributions to the condition, combined with new genomic data, will lead to more targeted therapeutic interventions and help to explain the mechanisms which lead to this symptom profile. Our team has an exciting PhD opportunity for a project examining cognitive contributions in CAS associated with our speech genetics clinic at the Royal Children’s Hospital.

3 year stipend offered.

Essential criteria: Degree in Clinical Psychology or Neuropsychology; High academic marks that would meet eligibility for enrolment at the University of Melbourne

Desirable: Experience in testing children with neurodevelopmental disorders or equivalent clinical experience

For further information, contact: angela.morgan@mcri.edu.au; david.amor@mcri.edu.au



Faculty Research Themes

Child Health, Infection and Immunology

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine



Research Opportunities

PhD students
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department / Centre

Paediatrics

Research Node

Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

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