Authors: Austermann Hula SN, Robin DA, Maas E, Ballard KJ, Schmidt RA
Title: Effects of feedback frequency and timing on acquisition, retention, and transfer of speech skills in acquired apraxia of speech
Source: Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 2008 51(5): 1088-1113
Year: 2008
Research Design: Single Case Design

PURPOSE: Two studies examined speech skill learning in persons with apraxia of speech (AOS). Motor-learning research shows that delaying or reducing the frequency of feedback promotes retention and transfer of skills. By contrast, immediate or frequent feedback promotes temporary performance enhancement but interferes with retention and transfer. These principles were tested in the context of a common treatment for AOS. METHOD: Two studies (N = 4, N = 2) employed single-subject treatment designs to examine acquisition and retention of speech skills in adults with AOS under different feedback conditions. RESULTS: Reduced-frequency or delayed feedback enhanced learning in 3 participants with AOS. Feedback manipulation was not an influential variable in 3 other cases in which stimulus-complexity effects may have masked treatment effects. CONCLUSIONS: These findings demonstrate that individuals with AOS can benefit from structured intervention. They provide qualified support for reduction and delay of feedback, although interaction with other factors such as stimulus complexity or task difficulty needs further exploration. This study adds to the growing body of literature investigating the use of principles of motor learning in treating AOS and provides impetus for consideration of pre-treatment variables that affect outcome in treatment studies.

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