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Chest Wall EMG during Postural Stability Tasks and Vocalization in Infants and Young Children With and Without Neurogenic Communication Disorders
Carol Boliek, Leila Homaeian, Charene Welsh, Reza Sherkat

This study was designed to provide new and exploratory data on muscle activation patterns of the chest wall during phonation and speech in infants and young children with and without neurogenic communication disorders. The specific aim of this research was to characterize the interplay of shared muscle groups in the production of speech, breathing, and the maintenance of posture. This presentation reports on our mesurement and analysis protocol which was adapted from Grosse, Cassidy, and Brown, 2002. Frequency, coherence, and phase difference analyses of EMG signals were conducted on selected pairings of rib cage and abdominal muscle groups during speech and nonspeech tasks performed across a variety of static postural pertubations. Coherence and phase measurements on EMG signals revealed various patterns of oscillatory coupling between intermuscular motor elements. Our analyses were sensitive to differences in muscle activation patterns among healthy adults, chidren, and infants as well as patterns from children with cerebral palsy. Results allowed us to make inferences about descending cortical and subcortical motor drive. Ultimately this line of inquiry will ultimately provide a comprehensive physiological analysis of chest wall behavior during breathing, vocalization, and postural control in children with and without neurogenic communication disorders.

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