Purpose: A subset of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has speech sound disorders, including childhood apraxia of speech (CAS). To date, virtually all speech treatment studies consider ASD an exclusionary criterion, resulting in little scientific evidence for treatment of CAS for children who also have ASD. This study proposes and tests a novel approach, Autism-Centered Therapy for Childhood Apraxia of Speech (ACT4CAS), as a theoretically and clinically informed speech treatment option for this population. Method: Using a multiple-baseline design within and across participants, three children with co-occurring ASD and CAS received 11–18 treatment sessions. Treatment targets were individually designed and matched with untreated control words. Probes were administered at the start of each session to assess speech production accuracy perceptually. Changes in production accuracy were examined through visual inspection and quantified with effect sizes. Results: Findings were mixed, with one child showing significant gains for half of the treated targets at follow-up and two children showing no clear improvement. Conclusions: Preliminary evidence suggests potentially positive treatment effects for ACT4CAS when implemented as intended, although treatment intensity and disorder severity likely influence treatment outcome. Replication and comparison of ACT4CAS to other speech treatments is needed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Linguistics and Language
- Speech and Hearing