Authors: Maas E, Gildersleeve-Neumann C, Jakielski K, Kovacs N, Stoeckel R, Vradelis H, Welsh M
Title: Bang for Your Buck: A Single-Case Experimental Design Study of Practice Amount and Distribution in Treatment for Childhood Apraxia of Speech
Source: Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 2019 62(9): 3160-3182
Year: 2019
Research Design: Single Case Design

Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine 2 aspects of treatment intensity in treatment for childhood apraxia of speech (CAS): practice amount and practice distribution. Method: Using an alternating-treatments single-subject design with multiple baselines, we compared high versus low amount of practice, and massed versus distributed practice, in 6 children with CAS. Conditions were manipulated in the context of integral stimulation treatment. Changes in perceptual accuracy, scored by blinded analysts, were quantified with effect sizes. Results: Four children showed an advantage for high amount of practice, 1 showed an opposite effect, and 1 showed no condition difference. For distribution, 4 children showed a clear advantage for massed over distributed practice post treatment; 1 showed an opposite pattern, and 1 showed no clear difference. Follow-up revealed a similar pattern. All children demonstrated treatment effects (larger gains for treated than untreated items). Conclusions: High practice amount and massed practice were associated with more robust speech motor learning in most children with CAS, compared to low amount and distributed practice, respectively. Variation in effects across children warrants further research to determine factors that predict optimal treatment conditions. Finally, this study adds to the evidence base supporting the efficacy of integral stimulation treatment for CAS.

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