Authors: Brady NC, Storkel HL, Bushnell P, Barker MR, Saunders K, Daniels D, Fleming K
Title: Investigating a Multimodal Intervention for Children With Limited Expressive Vocabularies Associated With Autism
Source: American Journal of Speech Language Pathology 2015 24(3): 438-459
Year: 2015
Research Design: Single Case Design

Purpose: This study investigated a new intervention package aimed at increasing expressive word learning by school-age children with autism who have limited expressive vocabularies. This pilot investigation was intended to show proof of concept. Method: Ten children between the ages of 6 and 10 years participated, with educational diagnoses of autism and limited expressive vocabularies at the outset of the study. A multimodal intervention composed of speech sound practice and augmentative and alternative communication was used to teach individualized vocabulary words that were selected on the basis of initial speech sound repertoires and principles of phonotactic probability and neighborhood density. A multiple-probe design was used to evaluate learning outcomes. Results: Five children showed gains in spoken-word learning across successive word sets (high responders). Five children did not meet learning criteria (low responders). Comparisons of behaviors measured prior to intervention indicated that high responders had relatively higher skills in receptive language, prelinguistic communication, vocal/verbal imitation, adaptive behavior, and consonant productions. Conclusions: The intervention package holds promise for improving spoken word productions for some children with autism who have limited expressive vocabularies. Further research is needed to better describe who may most benefit from this approach as well as investigate generalized benefits to untaught contexts and targets.

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