Original Research

A combined prosodic and linguistic treatment approach for language-communication skills in children with autism spectrum disorders: A proof-of-concept study

Silva Kuschke, Bart Vinck, Salomé Geertsema
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 6, No 1 | a290 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v6i1.290 | © 2016 Silva Kuschke, Bart Vinck, Salomé Geertsema | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 June 2015 | Published: 29 July 2016

About the author(s)

Silva Kuschke, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Bart Vinck, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Salomé Geertsema, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

This study aimed to determine whether the use of prosodically varied speech within a traditional language therapy framework had any effect on the listening skills, pragmatic skills and social interaction behaviour of three children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A single participant multiple baseline design across behaviours was implemented. Three participants with ASD were selected for this research. The listening skills, pragmatic skills and social interaction behaviour of the participants were compared before treatment, after a 3-week
period of treatment and after a 2-week withdrawal period from treatment, utilising prosodically varied speech within a traditional language therapy approach. Statistical significance was not calculated for each individual due to the limited data, but visual inspection indicated that all the participants showed positive behavioural changes in performance across all areas after 3 weeks of treatment, independent of their pre-treatment performance level. The use of
prosodically varied speech within a traditional language therapy framework appears to be a viable form of treatment for children with ASD.


Keywords

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD); prosodically varied speech; listening skills; pragmatic skills; social interaction behaviour; proof of concept

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