Mejorar la discriminación de sonidos en niños

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Nombrar y etiquetar ayuda al desarrollo del lenguajeLos niños pequeños son muy buenos en la tarea de discriminar los sonidos del habla. La atención a los sonidos del habla es un factor que impulsa el desarrollo de la percepción del habla durante el primer año de vida. La discriminación de los sonidos se puede mejorar por la exposición a diferentes y variados sonidos del habla.


Los bebés de 6 y 8 meses de edad pueden aprovechar un mecanismo de aprendizaje de dominio general, el aprendizaje estocástico, para facilitar la adquisición de un sistema específico de dominio dentro del aprendizaje del lenguaje. 

Los bebés son capaces de utilizar la información de distribución de la voz para detectar la estructura y la categoría fonética. Aprenden a hablar escuchando a su mamá y su papá.

Los bebés de un año ya tienen el mismo patrón de discriminación de sonidos que los adultos (Werker, 1984). A partir del año, los bebés ya no discriminan igual de bien fonemas de otro idioma.

A los 6 meses, la percepción de los sonidos de las vocales se ve afectado por la distribución fonética de la lengua materna, de manera que las vocales que son el prototipo en la lengua  materna, sufren un fuerte tirón perceptual (Kuhl et al., 1992).

Los animales utilizan la información de distribución para definir las categorías fonéticas discriminantes (Kluender, Lotto, Holt y Bloedel, 1998).

La sensibilidad a los patrones probabilísticos en la entrada no está restringida a la infancia, sino que contribuye al aprendizaje durante toda la vida (Maye, 2000).

Cómo ayudar al bebé a

discriminar sonidos:

Identificar sonidos con los ojos cerrados:

– jugar a identificar sonidos de animales, de coches, de sirenas.

– jugar con los sonidos de instrumentos musicales diferentes.

– jugar a identificar personas de la familia por su voz.

Cantar canciones:

cantar canciones que contengan pares de fonemas que sean difíciles de pillar. Por ejemplo, la canción de Incy Wincy Araña.

Jugar con los fonemas:

– jugar a cambiar unas letras por otras.

– jugar con cubos de madera que tengan el abecedario.

jugar con diferentes sonidos para producir onomatopeyas: pata-pum…

Leerle 20 minutos antes de ir a la cama

– aunque sea un viejo recurso, es útil!!

Si desea recibir más información, contactar con un psicólogo o sugerirnos algún tema sobre el que quisiera que escribiéramos, por favor rellene el formulario de consulta:


Werker, J. F., & Tees, R. C. (1984). Cross-language speech perception: evidence for perceptual reorganization during the first year of life. Infant Behavior and Development, 7, 49–63.

Kluender, K. R., Lotto, A. J., Holt, L. L., & Bloedel, S. L. (1998). Role of experience for language-specific functional mappings of vowel sounds. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 104, 3568–3582.

Webs de Interes:

ADHD and Emotional Memory

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Emotional memory can be defined as the memory of the emotions related to an specific event of our life. In case of negative events, this memory allows us to accommodate our conduct in order to avoid negative consequences in similar situations, which implies a capacity to analyze the situation and remember and be aware of our feelings related to it. It is well known that children with ADHD have alterations in the structure and function of the prefrontal cortex (which regulates our ability to plan and analyze our behavior), and also in brain structures linked with emotional processes such as the amygdala and the hippocampus (Plessen et al., 2006), which underlies their difficulties to cope with their emotions and behavior.

On the other hand, there is a growing literature studying the linkage between emotional memory lack in ADHD children and alterations in brain activity during sleep. For sleep disorder in children (Meltzer et al., 2010), the prevalence is 3.7%. The most-common diagnoses are enuresis and sleep-disordered breathing. ADHD is a predictor of sleep disorders.

Sleep disturbances are ADHD and Memorycommon in ADHD children (Cortese, Faraone, Konofal, & Lecendreux, 2009) and during sleep, new memory representations are reactivate during slow wave sleep SWS (sleep phase when our brain have the lowest activity rates) promoting memory consolidation. Studies show that ADHD children have abnormal SWS activity compared with healthy controls (Ringli et al., 2013), reflecting a neuromaturational delay of this brain wave rhythm in nonREM sleep. This imbalanced activity of slow waves is also associated with difficulties in consolidation of declarative memory (Prehn-Kristensen et al., 2011) which may explain difficulties to memorize facts and consequent learning problems related with ADHD.

In a recent study, the same author find that ADHD children have less activity in brain regions related to the consolidation of emotional memory (cited above), and suggest that these deficits are implicated in emotional symptoms reported by ADHD children during daytime (Prehn-Kristensen et al., 2013). ADHD children seem to have difficulties to select properly between emotional and non-emotional stimuli during sleep, which causes a diminished capacity to consolidate emotions related to events, which in turn, should have a direct impact on emotional relationships established with their peers.

Although more research is needed to strengthen the association between emotional memory and sleep, it is an important perspective because highlights the role of brain activity during sleep-time and allows us to better understand ADHD children not only in relation to their behavior, but also in relation to their emotions.

If you want to contact a psychologist or receive more information, please fill out the contact form:


Cortese, S., Faraone, S. V., Konofal, E., & Lecendreux, M. (2009). Sleep in Children With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Meta-Analysis of Subjective and Objective Studies. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 48(9), 894-908. doi:10.1097/CHI.0b013e3181ac09c9

Plessen, K. J., Bansal, R., Zhu, H., Whiteman, R., Amat, J., Quackenbush, G. A., … Peterson, B. S. (2006). Hippocampus and Amygdala Morphology in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Archives of general psychiatry, 63(7), 795-807. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.63.7.795

Prehn-Kristensen, A., Göder, R., Fischer, J., Wilhelm, I., Seeck-Hirschner, M., Aldenhoff, J., & Baving, L. (2011). Reduced sleep-associated consolidation of declarative memory in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Sleep Medicine, 12(7), 672-679. doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2010.10.010

Prehn-Kristensen, A., Munz, M., Molzow, I., Wilhelm, I., Wiesner, C. D., & Baving, L. (2013). Sleep Promotes Consolidation of Emotional Memory in Healthy Children but Not in Children with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. PLoS ONE, 8(5). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065098

Ringli, M., Souissi, S., Kurth, S., Brandeis, D., Jenni, O. G., & Huber, R. (2013). Topography of sleep slow wave activity in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Cortex, 49(1), 340-347. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2012.07.007

Meltzer, L. J., Johnson, C., Crosette, J., Ramos, M., & Mindell, J. A. (2010). Prevalence of diagnosed sleep disorders in pediatric primary care practices.Pediatrics125(6), e1410-e1418.

Efficacy of reading intervention

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Intervention for poor readers with reading delay are based on two ideas: the first one is to improve phonological awareness and the second one is to improve reading comprehension. Today we report a study from Hatcher et al., 2006, which talks about the efficacy of a small reading intervention with beginning readers with reading-delay. The intervention was delivered in daily www.telepsicologiainfantil.comtwenty minutes sessions. The program combine phonemic awareness training, word and test reading, and phonological linkage exercices. They found a difference between the control group and the group who received the intervention. Children made significantly more progress on letter knowledge, single word reading and phoneme awareness. Poor initial literacy skills seem to predict the failure of the intervention. Also around one quarter of the children didn’t respond to the intervention and seem to need more intensive help.

Intervention for reading comprehension improvement tend to focus on the next activities:

  • Identification of main ideas or thematic

  • Construction of inference

  • Construction of abstracting

  • Self-monitoring of reading comprehension

  • Graphic organizers

  • Generation of self-questioning

In the study of Ripoll and Aguado (2013) they conclude that interventions based on teaching strategies, increasing vocabulary and increasing motivation for reading or decoding, have shown signifcant effects on reading comprehension of spanish speaking students. Another interesting conclusion is that reciprocal teaching seems to be a good method for teaching reading comprehension strategies.

In another study from Hacther et al., (2006), they evaluate the effectiveness of the UK Early Literacy (ELS) programme relative to a programme of reading intervention based on “sound linkage”. In this study they compare the effectivity between training phonemic awareness or training letter-sound knowledge. They conclude that both interventions have equivalent gains in reading and spelling.

If you want to contact a psychologist or receive more information, please fill out the contact form:


Hatcher, P. J., Goetz, K., Snowling, M. J., Hulme, C., Gibbs, S., & Smith, G. (2006). Evidence for the effectiveness of the Early Literacy Support programme. The British journal of educational psychology, 76(Pt 2), 351-367. doi:10.1348/000709905X39170

Hatcher, P. J., Hulme, C., Miles, J. N. V., Carroll, J. M., Hatcher, J., Gibbs, S., … Snowling, M. J. (2006). Efficacy of small group reading intervention for beginning readers with reading-delay: a randomised controlled trial. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47(8), 820–827. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2005.01559.x

Ripoll, J. C., & Aguado, G. (2013). Reading Comprehension Improvement for Spanish Students: A Meta-Analysis // La mejora de la comprensión lectora en español: Un meta-análisis. Revista de Psicodidáctica / Journal of Psychodidactics, 0(0). Recuperado a partir de http://www.ehu.es/ojs/index.php/psicodidactica/article/view/9001

Phonological Awareness

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Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects the ability to learn to read, regardless of intelligence or level of education. This difficulty with learning to read is the result of a difficulty to process the Phonological Awarenesssounds of our language (phonological processing). Anthony & Francis (2005) highlight three skills needed to process the sounds of language: 1. to be able to store these sounds in our memory (phonological memory); 2. to be able to retrieve phonological codes from memory (phonological access) and 3. to be able to detect and be aware of those sounds within words that form our language (phonological awareness).

When a child has good phonological awareness, is able to distinguish the sounds of a word separating these sounds from the proper meaning of the word. Otherwise said, is able to conceive a word as the union of some specific sounds, whether these sounds are combined to form a word with a specific meaning. This capability allows children to read words whose meaning is not known and, therefore, read better.

Phonological awareness involves the ability to discern syllables, recognizing the smaller units within syllables (onset-rime units), and be aware of the individual sounds of the language, wich are the phonemes. Phonological awareness is also involved when we manipulate the sounds in of the words, such as substituting one sound for another to form a new word (tookies-cookies), adding and removing sounds from words and blending sounds together to make a new word (Yopp & Yopp 2009).

A good development of phonological awareness in pre-readers predicts later success in learning to read (Ziegler & Goswami, 2005).

If you want to contact a psychologist or receive more information, please fill out the contact form.


Anthony, J. L., & Francis, D. J. (2005). Development of Phonological Awareness. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(5), 255-259. doi:10.1111/j.0963-7214.2005.00376.x

Yopp, H. K., & Yopp, H. (2009). Phonological Awareness Is Child’s Play! Young Children, 64(1), 12.

Ziegler, J. C., & Goswami, U. (2005). Reading Acquisition, Developmental Dyslexia, and Skilled Reading Across Languages: A Psycholinguistic Grain Size Theory. Psychological Bulletin, 131(1), 3-29. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.131.1.3

Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and Dyslexia

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Nowadays reading comprehension is the key to be successful in school. Children have difficulties in the early stages of learning to read and the main problem are the phonological skills. Interventions that target phonological skills need to be integrated with the teaching of reading (Hatcher, Hulme, & Ellis, 1994), and it is necessary to understand that a difference exist between dyslexia and maturational delay on reading comprehension. Some studies point out that in countries where children undergo the digital revolution, reading comprehension is worst than other countries. Preschoolers with specific language impairment (SLI) perform worst on tests of reading, spelling and reading comprehension (Snowling, Bishop, & Stothard, 2000), and children with IQ less than 100, have literacy outcomes particularly poor. We can conceptualize a subgroup in the SLI: children with specific SLI-Dyslexiareading impairment.This group shows a substantial drop in reading accuracy between the ages of 8 and 15 years. Another subgroup, over 35%, have reading skills normalized. In the opinion of Bishop, phonological difficulties place children under a literacy failure. Specific reading retardation may account for a poor vocabulary and difficulties in organizing words and syntactic difficulties. Children with problems in phonological route understand words by semantic process. They prefer to use the general meaning of the phrase to understand the word. Another problem that we find in many children with SLI are deficits in verbal working memory. A deficient working memory functioning may account for difficulties in lexical-morphological learning and sentence comprehension (Montgomery, 2003).

Children with dyslexia have a central problem in phonological loop: they have problems in the phonological representation of words and their decodification and also in cognitive processing speed. However, sometimes they have a normal reading comprehension such as dyslexics with high IQ. Dyslexics have difficulties reading pseudowords and this test is the standard for screening dyslexics.

Prevention is one of the keys to help children with SLI. A reading program with highly structured phonic component for 5 years old children is enough to master alphabetic principles and learning to read. In contrast, children at risk of reading delay need an additional training in phoneme awareness (Hatcher, Hulme, & Snowling, 2004).

In 2004 Bishop & Snowling wrote and article about differences between developmental dyslexia and specific language impairment. They explained that dyslexia was reconceptualized as a language disorder with a defficient phonological processing. The authors argued that we need to be aware of semantic and sintactic deficits in SLI. These deficits affect reading comprehension and fluency in adolescents (Bishop & Snowling, 2004).

If you want to receive more information or to contact with a psychologist, please fill out the contact form;


Bishop, D. V. M., & Snowling, M. J. (2004). Developmental dyslexia and specific language impairment: same or different? Psychological bulletin, 130(6), 858-886. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.130.6.858

Hatcher, P. J., Hulme, C., & Ellis, A. W. (1994). Ameliorating Early Reading Failure by Integrating the Teaching of Reading and Phonological Skills: The Phonological Linkage Hypothesis. Child Development, 65(1), 41–57. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.1994.tb00733.x

Hatcher, P. J., Hulme, C., & Snowling, M. J. (2004). Explicit phoneme training combined with phonic reading instruction helps young children at risk of reading failure. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45(2), 338–358. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2004.00225.x

Montgomery, J. W. (2003). Working memory and comprehension in children with specific language impairment: what we know so far. Journal of Communication Disorders, 36(3), 221-231. doi:10.1016/S0021-9924(03)00021-2

Snowling, M., Bishop, D. V., & Stothard, S. E. (2000). Is preschool language impairment a risk factor for dyslexia in adolescence? Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines, 41(5), 587-600.

Trastornos del Aprendizaje

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¿Por qué mi hijo no lee bien?Los trastornos del aprendizaje abarcan problemas de lectura y escritura, matemáticas, atención, coordinación, etc. Se diferencian cuatro grandes bloques: la Disléxia, la Disgrafia, la Discalcúlia y la Dispráxia.

Posiblemente el más conocido es la Disléxia. Las personas con disléxia tienen problemas para conectar las letras con los sonidos (conexión grafema-fonema). También tienen problemas para deletrear así como con el reconocimiento de las palabras. Las personas con disléxia suelen presentar problemas con la lectura, sobre todo en edades tempranas. PresentTrastornos del Aprendizajean un vocabulario más pobre, una lectura lenta, y dificultad para entender el lenguaje oral. También suelen confundir bastante la izquierda con la derecha y tienen una memoria de trabajo pobre (les cuesta acordarse de los números de teléfono). En el artículo clásico de Denckla & Rudel, demuestran que los niños con disléxia tienen un déficit en la automatización de las respuestas verbales a estímulos visuales (Denckla & Rudel, 1976).

La Disgrafia se caracteriza por problemas para escribir. Son personas que prefieren hablar que escribir. Pierden rápidamente el interés cuando escriben, no construyen bien las frases a nivel gramatical y les cuesta ordenar las ideas.

La Discalcúlia se caracteriza por tener problemas en entender conceptos básicos matemáticos, como sumas, restas, fracciones…Otros síntomas pueden ser problemas para devolver el cambio, problemas al desarrollar de manera secuencial soluciones matemáticas y problemas al explicar eventos de manera secuencial.

Las personas con dispraxia tiene problemas en tareas motoras, presentan una coordinación ojo-mano pobre, problemas para organizar sus cosas, rompen las cosas, y evitan aquellas tareas que requieran dichas habilidades, como por ejemplo hacer puzzles.

Si queréis más información os remitimos a la página del NIH.

Si desea más información sobre los trastornos del aprendizaje, no dude en contactar con nosotros mediante el formulario de consulta.


Denckla, M. B., & Rudel, R. G. (1976). Rapid ‘automatized’ naming (R.A.N.): Dyslexia differentiated from other learning disabilities. Neuropsychologia, 14(4), 471-479. doi:10.1016/0028-3932(76)90075-0

Processing Speed

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Processing speed is one of the major factor in general cognition and a fundamental part of the cognitive system (Kail & Salthouse, 1994).

Slow cognitive processing is linked to academic achievement and several clinical disorders. Vulnerability to information processing load is related to attentional problems. Inattentive children perform poorly on measures of information processing speed (Weiler, Bernstein, Bellinger, & Waber, 2000). Some authors talk about the possibility that inattentive subtype of ADHD (ADD), could be a different group from general ADHD characterized by poor cognitive interference control and slow processing (Goth-Owens, Martinez-Torteya, Martel, & Nigg, 2010). Likewise, attention and speed weaknesses coexist in children with Autism and ADHD, an contribute significantly to the Processing Speed_ADHD_Dyslexiaprediction of academic achievement (Mayes & Calhoun, 2007). Deficits in processing speed are a cognitive risk factor for reading disabilities and ADHD (Shanahan et al., 2006). Children with dyslexia, compared with normal performance children, have persistent problems in naming speed for all stimuli regardless the stimulus requires grapheme-phoneme decoding. In the study of Fawcet (Fawcett & Nicolson1994), performance speed of children with dyslexia at the age of seventeen was close to those with eight years old at control group.

Naming speed can also be modified by medication. Children with ADHD taking methylphenidate selectively, can improve color naming speed but not the speed of naming letters or digits. These findings implicate that naming speed deficits are associated with effortful semantic processing in ADHD, and can be improved but not normalized by methylphenidate (Tannock, Martinussen, & Frijters, 2000).

The relationship between learning disabilities and intelligence is not clear. Children with low IQ scores can be good readers. Poor readers at variety of IQ levels show similar reading, spelling, language and memory deficits (Siegel, 1989).

Another important field is the study of neural correlates of processing speed. Children with developmental dyslexia show deficient phonological processing. When we study the functional networks with rapid auditory processing (RAP), we found functional alteration in left hemisphere frontal regions in prereading children at risk for dyslexia (Raschle, Stering, Meissner, & Gaab, 2013).

Finally, studies show a relation between speed processing, rapid naming and phonological awareness, and all three are related to reading achievement. Poor readers are more slow than good readers across response time measures on the rapid object naming task. Catts et al. 2002, suggest that some poor readers have a general deficit in speed processing, and that speed processing may be conceptualized as an “extraphonological” factor. Naming speed explains variance in reading skills independently of measures of phonological awareness (Bowers & Swanson, 1991).

If you want to receive more information, please fill out the contact form:


Bowers, P. G., & Swanson, L. B. (1991). Naming speed deficits in reading disability: Multiple measures of a singular process. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 51(2), 195-219. doi:10.1016/0022-0965(91)90032-N

Catts, H. W., Gillispie, M., Leonard, L. B., Kail, R. V., & Miller, C. A. (2002). The Role of Speed of Processing, Rapid Naming, and Phonological Awareness in Reading Achievement. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 35(6), 510-525. doi:10.1177/00222194020350060301

Fawcett, A. J., & Nicolson, R. I. (1994). Naming Speed in Children with Dyslexia. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 27(10), 641-646. doi:10.1177/002221949402701004

Goth-Owens, T. L., Martinez-Torteya, C., Martel, M. M., & Nigg, J. T. (2010). Processing Speed Weakness in Children and Adolescents with Non-Hyperactive but Inattentive ADHD (ADD). Child Neuropsychology, 16(6), 577-591. doi:10.1080/09297049.2010.485126

Kail, R., & Salthouse, T. A. (1994). Processing speed as a mental capacity. Acta Psychologica, 86(2–3), 199-225. doi:10.1016/0001-6918(94)90003-5

Mayes, S. D., & Calhoun, S. L. (2007). Learning, Attention, Writing, and Processing Speed in Typical Children and Children with ADHD, Autism, Anxiety, Depression, and Oppositional-Defiant Disorder. Child Neuropsychology, 13(6), 469-493. doi:10.1080/09297040601112773

Raschle, N. M., Stering, P. L., Meissner, S. N., & Gaab, N. (2013). Altered Neuronal Response During Rapid Auditory Processing and Its Relation to Phonological Processing in Prereading Children at Familial Risk for Dyslexia. Cerebral Cortex, bht104. doi:10.1093/cercor/bht104

Shanahan, M. A., Pennington, B. F., Yerys, B. E., Scott, A., Boada, R., Willcutt, E. G., … DeFries, J. C. (2006). Processing Speed Deficits in Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Reading Disability. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 34(5), 584-601. doi:10.1007/s10802-006-9037-8

Siegel, L. S. (1989). IQ Is Irrelevant to the Definition of Learning Disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 22(8), 469-478. doi:10.1177/002221948902200803

Tannock, R., Martinussen, R., & Frijters, J. (2000). Naming Speed Performance and Stimulant Effects Indicate Effortful, Semantic Processing Deficits in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 28(3), 237-252. doi:10.1023/A:1005192220001

Weiler, M. D., Bernstein, J. H., Bellinger, D. C., & Waber, D. P. (2000). Processing Speed in Children With Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Inattentive Type. Child Neuropsychology, 6(3), 218-234. doi:10.1076/chin.