The importance of production frequency in therapy for childhood apraxia of speech

Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2011 May;20(2):95-110. doi: 10.1044/1058-0360(2011/09-0005). Epub 2011 Feb 17.


Purpose: This study explores the importance of production frequency during speech therapy to determine whether more practice of speech targets leads to increased performance within a treatment session, as well as to motor learning, in the form of generalization to untrained words.

Method: Two children with childhood apraxia of speech were treated with an alternating treatment AB design, with production frequency differing in the 2 treatments. The higher production frequency treatment required 100+ productions in 15 min, while the moderate-frequency treatment required 30-40 productions in the same time period. One child was treated 3 times weekly for 11 weeks; the other child was treated twice weekly for 5 weeks. At the conclusion of each treatment phase, 5 min of probes were administered to determine whether generalization had occurred. Maintenance data to measure performance and learning were collected after a break from treatment.

Results: Both children showed improvement on all targets; however, the targets with the higher production frequency treatment were acquired faster, evidenced by better in-session performance and greater generalization to untrained probes.

Conclusions: Both treatment designs were effective, though frequent and intense practice of speech resulted in more rapid response to treatment in 2 children whose primary communication difficulty was childhood apraxia of speech.

MeSH terms

  • Adoption
  • Apraxias / diagnosis
  • Apraxias / therapy*
  • Articulation Disorders / diagnosis
  • Articulation Disorders / therapy*
  • Asian Americans / psychology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cleft Lip / therapy
  • Cleft Palate / therapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Communication Aids for Disabled
  • Dysarthria / diagnosis
  • Dysarthria / therapy*
  • Early Intervention, Educational
  • Emigrants and Immigrants
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Generalization, Psychological
  • Humans
  • Language Development Disorders / diagnosis
  • Language Development Disorders / therapy*
  • Language Therapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Phonetics
  • Practice, Psychological*
  • Speech Articulation Tests
  • Speech Intelligibility
  • Speech Production Measurement
  • Speech Therapy / methods*