Speech Therapy News

Display News Filters

New form of speech therapy may help mildly autistic children

Tuesday 30th October 2018
Many autistic children could see their verbal capacities enhanced by a new form of speech therapy devised in the US.
Latest Jobs

A new form of speech therapy has been developed that researchers believe can be highly effective in enhancing the vocal capacities of children with mild autism. 

The technique of auditory-motor mapping training (AMMT) has been devised by researchers at Harvard University in the US. It works by getting children to recite words in a singing voice while tapping out the syllables on drums. 

After five weeks, the therapy was shown to have increased the number of words spoken by minimally verbal autistic children more than standard speech therapy. The results of the study were published in Autism Research.

The technique worked through using therapists to deliver AMMT to 27 patients, aged between three and ten years, five days a week over a five-week period. At the outset, all the children in the study spoke fewer than 20 words and could not speak in sentences. 

The therapists would sing two-syllable words, which the child would recite. In parallel, the therapist would tap a drum set either to a high or low tone, encouraging the child to do likewise. 

By the end of the study, the children pronounced an average of 18 per cent more words correctly, while a control group using standard speech therapy only witnessed a one per cent improvement. 

In addition, care providers said the children given AMMT were more conversational after receiving the therapy.

Speaking to Spectrum Magazine, Connie Kasari, professor of human development and psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not associated with the research, remarked: "I think it's a really interesting approach. We haven’t really tapped into the motor system as much as we probably should."

A key finding of the research was that the success of it did not vary significantly according to a child's age, sex or nonverbal IQ. 

According to the Autism Society, more than 700,000 people in the UK are on the spectrum, around 1.1 per cent. However, the nature of symptoms and the impact these have on speech and language capacities vary substantially. 
Written by Martin Lambert

Mediplacements is a genuine specialist medical recruitment company. Contact us to see the latest speech therapy jobs.

Image: iStockADNFCR-1780-ID-801848924-ADNFCR

Related News