Research in the Research Unit of Logopedics (RULOGO) is concentrated into four multidisciplinary focus areas:
Typical and disordered language abilities throughout the lifespan
Research in the area of speech and language acquisition focuses on children with typical development, children with preterm birth, children with late language emergence (LLE), and children with developmental language disorder (DLD). The language-specific features in typical and disordered development at different linguistic domains (i.e., phonology, lexicon, morpho-syntax and semantics) are studied. The predictors of LLE are studied using multifactorial framework. Mutable and least-mutable risk and protective factors of DLD are studied using existing Finnish longitudinal cohorts. In addition, the nature of language processing and production changes in typical aging and in neurologically disordered participants are studied. Language skills in young and middle-aged adults are assessed in order to compare them to those of elderly persons.
Social communication and its difficulties
Research in the area of pragmatic communication abilities and social cognition skills focuses on children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), children with DLD and children with ADHD. In addition, we also focus on the typical development of pragmatic communication skills. In ASD studies we use a multilevel approach: behavioural, physiological and neural level. The approach provides an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of the social and pragmatic language processing in individuals with ASD. The findings gained by using this methodology are needed in order to understand the unique social-pragmatic language processing styles of individuals with ASD.
Hearing, speech perception and auditory processing and their difficulties
Research in the area of hearing, speech perception and auditory processing and their difficulties focuses on children with normal hearing, children with mild-to-profound hearing impairment (HI) who use either hearing aids or cochlear implants, and on children with DLD. We focus on the effects of mild-to-profound HI and hearing aid or cochlear implant use on children's linguistic development and pragmatic communication. We also focus on the associations among auditory processing skills in neural and behavioral levels and language outcomes in children with typical development, DLD and HI. Also, the effects of noise are investigated. Speechreading abilities of adults and effects of unilateral HI on children are also studied.
Speech, language and communication interventions and its efficacy
Research in the area of communication interventions and their efficacy focuses on children´s social-emotional development and virtual reality use in aphasia intervention. A free on-line game Tunne-etsivät (Emotion Detectives), found to be efficient, has been developed to support children’s social-emotional development. The efficacy of a new intervention to support 3- to 6-year-old children’s social-emotional skills, including social cognition is explored in a randomized controlled trial. The feasibility and effectiveness of home-based telerehabilitation using an immersive virtual reality (VR) technology is researched on with persons with aphasia. In addition, implementation of goal attainment scaling (GAS) is investigated in intensive speech and language therapy. Also, systematic literature reviews and meta-analyses exploring interventions in the area of DLD and HI are in progress.