Marie-Joe Kfoury

Ph.D. Student


Ph.D. Student participating in the Comm4CHILD Project ESR 15: The phonological body – body movements to accompany linguistic development in deaf children

The lack of robust and clearly specified phonological representations is often put forward to explain language delays and reading difficulties in children with Hearing Impairment (HI). Speech therapists point out that vowel perception is still challenging even with a Cochlear Implant (CI). Vowels are important building blocks for function words acquisition and thereby for the development of grammatical communication. The Langue en Mouvements (LEM) is a dynamic approach grounded in body movements and phonetic rhythms to strengthen the phonological repertoires of children who have specific language and communication challenges (André Faber, 2006). This method is daily used in many French-speaking rehabilitation centers, but rigorous scientific work regarding its impact on phonological abilities and speech perception is still lacking. During my Ph.D., my first task will be to develop research to better understand how LEM improves vowel perception in children with HI. My second task will be to examine the most efficient guidelines for parents and practitioners to support better speech perception with body and/or social adjustments, better interactions and dialogs with children with HI, in speech therapy or in noisy environments. The outcomes will help to identify the impact of usually embedded factors in parental linguistic stimulation: body movement supporting speech perception, social interactions, and vocabulary development. This will lead to school and social guidelines for assessment, efficient communication, and support.