Blog Archives

The effectiveness of the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD): A South African pilot study

This study investigated the effects of introducing the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) on the frequency of requesting and commenting and the length of verbal utterances of two children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who presented with some spoken language, but limited use of language in communicative exchanges. A mixed research design was used, including a quantitative component — a single-subject multiple-baseline design (MBD) across three behaviours, repeated with two participants — and a qualitative component. Data was collected in the PECS pre-training, training, post-training and follow-up stages, in both structured and unstructured settings. The quantitative data was visually represented and analysed to determine the effectiveness of the PECS. The qualitative component investigated the impact of the PECS on other areas (e.g. communication profile, speech complexity and pragmatic skills), and included parent and educator perspectives. Both participants benefited from the introduction of PECS. The findings indicated highly effective treatment for requesting and mixed results for commenting and length of verbal utterances. There were considerable increases in intentional communicative acts (ICAs) for both participants, with marked increases in requesting (function) and the development of forms of communication (from augmentation of speech with pictures to speech only utterances). Clinical, educational and research implications were raised.

from Child Language Teaching and Therapy

The Use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication Methods with Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities: A Research Review

This review sought to determine the evidence base of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) use with infants and toddlers with disabilities. The review identified 12 studies, involving 190 participants aged 36 months or younger. The majority of the studies investigated unaided AAC methods (e.g., gestures or sign language), with 42% of the studies also including aided AAC methods. Although all studies reported improvement in child communication following AAC intervention, in-depth analyses of study methodology indicated that only 7 out of 12 provided conclusive evidence. Implications for early intervention AAC practice and suggestions for future research are proposed.

from AAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Differential Effects of Voice Therapies on Neurovegetative Symptoms and Complaints

In previous studies, female patients in all age categories with a nonorganic dysphonia were found to report significantly more autonomic symptoms and complaints than healthy controls. After voice therapy, there was a highly significant reduction in the amount of autonomic symptoms and complaints (related or not related to voice). The present prospective study with a matched control group is designed to test the hypothesis that a specific kind of therapy is more efficient than the usual approaches in reducing these neurovegetative symptoms and complaints. Two matched groups of 34 patients diagnosed with nonorganic dysphonia and referred for voice therapy answered a questionnaire of 46 questions with 3 subsets and a consistency control. They received either “coordination therapy” (CTh)—a holistic approach addressing functional, personal and emotional aspects—or a conventional voice therapy (approximately 15 sessions). All patients again filled in a similar questionnaire after approximately 6 months. After therapy, there is in general a highly significant reduction in the amount of autonomic symptoms and complaints (related or not related to voice), to such an extent that patients report on average no more general neurovegetative symptoms and complaints than those of healthy controls. Symptoms and complaints of other nature (validity control) are not influenced. When compared with patients receiving conventional therapy, those who received CTh demonstrate a significantly higher reduction for the subset “neurovegetative symptoms/complaints related to voice and speech.”

from the Journal of Voice

Vocal Symptoms in Telemarketers: A Random and Controlled Field Trial

The present study was carried out to evaluate the effectiveness of a specific program regarding the occurrence of vocal attrition symptoms in telemarketers. A total of 71 subjects participated in this study: 28 completed the Vocal Symptoms questionnaire to test its reliability, and 43 were randomly assigned to two groups: an 8-week vocal training group (n = 14) and a no-training control group (n = 29), to evaluate the effectiveness of the training program with this tool. The voice training group also filled in the posttraining questionnaire ‘Benefits Obtained with Voice Training’ (BVT). The vocal training program was not considered effective with regard to the occurrence of vocal symptoms. However, due to a probable increase in symptoms in untrained telemarketers, it can work as a protective factor. According to BVT answers, the vocal training contributed to an improvement in vocal use as a communication tool for telemarketers.

from Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica