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October 2021

Automatic operant response procedure ('play-test') for the study of auditory perception of neurologically impaired infants

Author(s): Shapira, Y., Jones, M. H.

Journal/Book: Dev Med Child Neurol. 1975; 17: 186-97.

Abstract: Ten babies with cerebral palsy of varying types and degrees (age-range 10 to 27 months) participated in an initial exploratory study designed to determine the effectiveness of an automated, two-choice audio feedback system (Playtest') for evaluation of the auditory perception and processing capabilities of neurologically impaired infants. The major components of the 'Playtest' are a master control unit and two toy-like switches which are attached to the baby's crib. By playing with the 'toys', the baby is able to listen to one of two pre-recorded audio stimuli, music or a monotone hum. Frequency and duration of the baby's self-selected listening responses are automatically recorded on meters inside the control unit and provide a precise numerical record over an extended period of time. In this study the handicapped infants were physically able to operate the apparatus and demonstrated highly significant preferential listening. Comparison of the recorded data from the study infants with those from normal infants showed no significant difference between the performances of the two groups. The findings suggest that the 'Playtest' technique could be successfully applied to the objective assessment of auditory perception and processing abilities of neurologically impaired infants, whose handicaps often prevent them from effectively participating in other standardised test procedures. The principal advantages of the technique are that testing is done in the child's most familiar environment--his own crib at home--without the intrusion of other people, and the evaluation of hearing competence is a function of the baby's spontaneous self-selected responses to sound variables, and hence of his auditory discrimination.

Keyword(s): Audiometry/instrumentation/methods. Auditory Perception. Cerebral Palsy. Child, Preschool. Discrimination (Psychology). Female. Human. Infant. Language Disorders/complications. Male. Speech Disorders/complications

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