Natural speech and AAC intervention in childhood motor speech disorders: Not an either/or Situation

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  • Included in: SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication
  • Published: June 1, 2014

The future of natural speech development is uncertain for children with motor speech disorders (MSD). There is a strong desire to put plans in place as early as possible to anticipate long-term needs. Simultaneously, the knowledge that natural speech development may take time and effort and the idea that augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) can help to fill in the gap while such progress is being made makes sense on a foundational level. However, practical questions remain about the balance of natural speech intervention along with AAC use, particularly when both skills may require intervention and practice before functional benefits are realized. Although AAC stands for augmentative and alternative communication, what the acronym does not provide is an indication of how balance between augmenting natural speech and seeking more of an alternative is to be obtained. In this article, we review impairments in natural speech in children with MSDs. Through this lens, we navigate a path to understanding how, on a practical level, AAC and natural speech strategies can be implemented simultaneously and in a complementary fashion. Following an overview of literature, we move to a discussion of the dual paradigm approach. Finally, we conclude with practical applications of principles through a case study.


Oommen, E. R., & McCarthy, J. W. (2014). Natural speech and AAC intervention in childhood motor speech disorders: Not an either/or Situation. Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 23, 117-123. doi:10.1044/aac23.3.117


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