Authors: Preston JL, Leece MC, McNamara K, Maas E
Title: Variable Practice to Enhance Speech Learning in Ultrasound Biofeedback Treatment for Childhood Apraxia of Speech: A Single Case Experimental Study
Source: American Journal of Speech Language Pathology 2017 26(3): 840-852
Year: 2017
Research Design: Single Case Design

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of practice variability, through prosodic variation during speech sound training, in biofeedback treatment for children with childhood apraxia of speech. It was hypothesized that variable practice would facilitate speech sound learning. Method: Six children ages 8–16 years with persisting speech sound errors due to childhood apraxia of speech participated in a single-subject experimental design. For each participant, 2 speech sound targets were treated with ultrasound visual feedback training: one with prosodic variation (i.e., practicing sound targets in words and phrases spoken fast, slow, loud, as a question, command, and declarative), and one without prosodic variation. Each target was treated for half of the 1-hr session for 14 treatment sessions. Results: As measured by standardized effect sizes, all participants showed greater change on generalization probes for sound targets treated under the prosodic variation condition with mean effect sizes (d 2) of 14.5 for targets treated with prosodic variation and 8.3 for targets treated without prosodic variation. The average increase in generalization scores was 38% in the prosodic variation condition compared to 31% without. Conclusions: Ultrasound visual feedback may facilitate speech sound learning and learning may be enhanced by treating speech sounds with explicit prosodic variation.

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