Speech motor timing and fluency
Smith's spatio-temporal index (STI) is widely used to assess variability in motor timing performance in various speaking conditions. STI has been shown to be a sensitive index of developmental changes and as a way of assessing performance differences between speakers with fluency disorders and controls. STI typically takes records obtained from an articulator (e.g., the lower lip) for repeated attempts at the same utterance. STI aligns the set of records linearly, normalizes the amplitude axis, and obtains the standard deviation at fifty points along the aligned time axis which are then averaged to give the index. This chapter uses the functional data analysis (FDA) method that aligns features on the time axis. FDA allows separate estimates of timing and amplitude deformations. When two or more signals are obtained concurrently on utterances, the timing deformations can be compared to estimate their degree of inter coordination. The method is described and applied to see whether a group of speakers who stutter have poorer inter coordination than a group of fluent speakers.
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