Investigating a Multimodal Intervention for Children With Limited Expressive Vocabularies Associated With Autism 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 ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 2015
Investigating a Multimodal Intervention for Children With Limited Expressive Vocabularies Associated With Autism
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Nancy C. Brady
    University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Holly L. Storkel
    University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Paige Bushnell
    University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • R. Michael Barker
    Schiefelbusch Institute for Lifespan Studies, University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Kate Saunders
    Schiefelbusch Institute for Lifespan Studies, University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Debby Daniels
    University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Kandace Fleming
    Schiefelbusch Institute for Lifespan Studies, University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Nancy C. Brady: nbrady@ku.edu
  • R. Michael Barker is now at the University of South Florida, Tampa.
    R. Michael Barker is now at the University of South Florida, Tampa.×
  • Editor: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Associate Editor: Cynthia Cress
    Associate Editor: Cynthia Cress×
  • Copyright © 2015 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Development / Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 2015
Investigating a Multimodal Intervention for Children With Limited Expressive Vocabularies Associated With Autism
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2015, Vol. 24, 438-459. doi:10.1044/2015_AJSLP-14-0093
History: Received July 2, 2014 , Revised December 18, 2014 , Accepted April 20, 2015
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2015, Vol. 24, 438-459. doi:10.1044/2015_AJSLP-14-0093
History: Received July 2, 2014; Revised December 18, 2014; Accepted April 20, 2015
Acknowledgments
This research was supported by Autism Speaks Grant 7543 (awarded to Nancy Brady); by National Institutes of Health Grants R01 HD076903 (awarded to Nancy Brady) and P30 HD002528 (awarded to John Colombo); and by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant NICHD T32 HD057844 (awarded to Kathryn “Kate” Saunders).

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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