Children with neurodevelopmental disorders often use little or no speech. Augmentative and alternative communication promotes functional communication by using nonspeech modes, but it might also influence natural speech production. To investigate this possibility, the authors provided augmentative and alternative communication intervention to two boys with neurodevelopmental disorders and severe communication impairment. Intervention focused on teaching the boys to use a tablet computer-based speech-generating device (SGD) to request preferred stimuli. Both boys began to utter relevant single words. To induce more speech and investigate the relation between SGD availability and natural speech production, the SGD was removed during some requesting opportunities. With intervention, both participants learned to use the SGD to request preferred stimuli. Both participants began to respond more frequently with natural speech when the SGD was removed. The results suggest that a rehabilitation program involving initial SGD intervention followed by subsequent withdrawal of the SGD might increase the frequency of natural speech production in some children with neurodevelopmental disorders. This effect could be an example of response generalization.
Roche, L., Sigafoos, J., Lancioni, G. E., O’Reilly, M. F., Schlosser, R. W., Stevens, M., . . . Marschik, P. B. (2014). An evaluation of speech production in two boys with neurodevelopmental disorders who received communication intervention with a speech-generating device. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, 38, 10–16.