Authors: Gill C, Mehta J, Fredenburg K, Bartlett K
Title: Imitation therapy for non-verbal toddlers
Source: Child Language Teaching and Therapy 2011 27(1): 97-108
Year: 2011
Research Design: Case Series

When imitation skills are not present in young children, speech and language skills typically fail to emerge. There is little information on practices that foster the emergence of imitation skills in general and verbal imitation skills in particular. The present study attempted to add to our limited evidence base regarding accelerating the development of speech/language in young children who have failed to achieve expected language milestones. Imitation therapy (Zedler, 1972) was utilized for five non-verbal 18—19-month-old children to determine if imitative behavior in the form of sound production could be initiated and increased. Treatment was administered until children reached criteria for consistent imitative sound productions. Following 8—9 weeks of therapy, all five children exhibited significant increases in both the number of vocalizations and the variety of phonemes produced, and they demonstrated regular spontaneous verbal imitation and emergence of phonetically consistent forms. Imitation therapy appears to be a promising practice that merits further investigation.

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