Clinical Focus  |   May 2009
When “Simon Says” Doesn’t Work: Alternatives to Imitation for Facilitating Early Speech Development
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Laura S. DeThorne
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Cynthia J. Johnson
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Louise Walder
    Private Practice, Mahomet, IL
  • Jamie Mahurin-Smith
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Contact author: Laura S. DeThorne, University of Illinois–Speech & Hearing Science, 901 South Sixth Street, Champaign, IL 61820. E-mail: lauras@illinois.edu.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Clinical Focus
Clinical Focus   |   May 2009
When “Simon Says” Doesn’t Work: Alternatives to Imitation for Facilitating Early Speech Development
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2009, Vol. 18, 133-145. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2008/07-0090)
History: Received December 11, 2007 , Revised May 28, 2008 , Accepted September 19, 2008
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2009, Vol. 18, 133-145. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2008/07-0090)
History: Received December 11, 2007; Revised May 28, 2008; Accepted September 19, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 4

Purpose: To provide clinicians with evidence-based strategies to facilitate early speech development in young children who are not readily imitating sounds. Relevant populations may include, but are not limited to, children with autism spectrum disorders, childhood apraxia of speech, and late-talking toddlers.

Method: Through multifaceted search procedures, we found experimental support for 6 treatment strategies that have been used to facilitate speech development in young children with developmental disabilities. Each strategy is highlighted within this article through a summary of the underlying rationale(s), empirical support, and specific examples of how it could be applied within intervention.

Conclusions: Given the relatively sparse experimental data focused on facilitating speech in children who do not readily imitate, theoretical support emerges as particularly key and underscores the need for clinicians to consider why they are doing what they are doing. In addition, this review emphasizes the need for the research community to bridge the gap between pressing clinical needs and the limited evidence base that is currently available.

Acknowledgments
This project was supported in part by the U.S. Department of Education, Project FOCAL (Grant H325D070061). Thanks to Amie King and Julie Hengst for sharing their expertise in AAC, Ashley Sharer and Lauren Mueller for their frequent trips to the library (online and in person), and Bonnie Johnson, Pamela Hadley, and Pamela Marshalla for their feedback on earlier drafts of the manuscript. Finally, thanks to Z for inspiration.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access