Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education


From the time a fetus reaches about 20 weeks gestational age, its auditory system is functioning. Before we are ever born, we are exposed to sounds within our environment. With birth, we begin to interact with, experiment with, and learn to interpret the sounds around us. Before learning to speak, we are bombarded by the sounds of our language. An infant's head is known to perk up at the sound of a voice, a sudden noise, music... all the sounds of the environment, which is evidence that children are aware of the sounds around them before they are ever able to imitate them (Strange, 1986). The reception of sounds must play a critical part in the acquisition of speech skills, which includes cognitively processing the sounds, learning that sound has meaning, and learning to differentiate and discriminate between these sounds. Finally, skills in positioning the articulators in a way that will create the sounds used for communication and putting these sounds of language in an order that is appropriate and communicable are also necessary.