For a study, it was determined that 30% of children diagnosed with autism remained minimally verbal past age 5. Interventions were often effective in increasing spoken communication for some of these children. Clinical and research decisions would be facilitated by identifying early progress indicators in interventions. The researchers aimed to investigate the relationship between speech sound measures obtained from the early phases of treatment and later treatment outcomes in children with autism and minimal verbal skills. About 23 children (18 boys) between 5 and 9 years of age were taken under consideration. Researchers compared scores reflecting the phonemic features of word attempts produced during probes and the number of correct words after 4 weeks of intervention to later word learning outcomes. Correlational and hierarchical regression analyses showed that both predictors were positively correlated with results, but the phonemic scores were more strongly related than the number of correct words. Researchers concluded that phonemic scoring might be a useful measure to determine proximal gains in a spoken word learning intervention. Proximal actions were particularly helpful when deciding if the current course of intervention should be maintained or altered.

 

Source:jneurodevdisorders.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s11689-021-09386-x