Authors: McKechnie J, Ahmed B, Gutierrez-Osuna R, Murray E, McCabe P, Ballard KJ
Title: The influence of type of feedback during tablet-based delivery of intensive treatment for childhood apraxia of speech
Source: Journal of Communication Disorders 2020 87: Article ID: 106026
Year: 2020
Research Design: Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: N/A
To be rated

Purpose: One of the key principles of motor learning supports using knowledge of results feedback (KR, i.e., whether a response was correct / incorrect only) during high intensity motor practice, rather than knowledge of performance (KP, i.e., whether and how a response was correct/incorrect). In the future, mobile technology equipped with automatic speech recognition (ASR) could provide KR feedback, enabling this practice to move outside the clinic, supplementing speech pathology sessions and reducing burden on already stretched speech-language pathology resources. Here, we employ a randomized controlled trial design to test the impact of KR vs KP feedback on children's response to the Nuffield Dyspraxia Programme 3, delivered through an android tablet. At the time of testing, ASR was not feasible and so correctness of responses was decided by the treating clinician. Method: Fourteen children with CAS, aged 4-10 years, participated in a parallel group design, matched for age and severity of CAS. Both groups attended a university clinic for 1-hr therapy sessions 4 days a week for 3 weeks. One group received high frequency feedback comprised of both KR and KP, in the style of traditional, face-to-face intensive intervention on all days. The other group received high frequency KR + KP feedback on 1 day per week and high frequency KR feedback on the other 3 days per week, simulating the service delivery model of one clinic session per week supported by tablet-based home practice. Results: Both groups had significantly improved speech outcomes at 4-months post-treatment. Post-hoc comparisons suggested that only the KP group showed a significant change from pre- to immediately post-treatment but the group difference had dissipated by 1-month post-treatment. Heterogeneity in response to intervention within the groups suggests that other factors, not measured here, may be having a substantive influence on response to intervention and feedback type. Conclusion: Mobile technology has the potential to increase motivation and engagement with therapy and to mitigate barriers associated with distance and access to speech pathology services. Further research is needed to explore the influence of type and frequency of feedback on motor learning, optimal timing for transitioning from KP to KR feedback, and how these parameters interact with task, child and context-related factors.

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