Everyone wants to use treatments that are proven to be effective. Evidence-based practice (EBP) is the current mandate for delivering autism treatments including the use of communication apps and tablet devices. EBP urges clinicians and caretakers to use the most recent, high quality research when making treatment decisions. SPEAKall! has been developed directly in the Purdue AAC and Autism Research Lab and tested intensively in the Purdue Speech-Language Clinic as well as in home and school settings. Research findings have been integrated with clinician and user feedback to develop a high quality product. Please contact us for conference handouts showing the latest research results for a variety of different AAC interventions carried out with SPEAKall!.
Thesis Abstract: Ariana Azzato, Purdue University
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a treatment package including a modified protocol of the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) implemented via an autism-specific iPad application. A multiple probe design (Horner & Baer, 1978) was replicated across four individuals with severe, non-verbal autism to investigate effects on requesting skills, natural speech production, and social-communicative behaviors. Results suggest beneficial effects, if implemented with high fidelity. The largest effects were on the participants’ requesting skills. All four participants were able to consistently request for desired items by activating the tablet device, and this skill was maintained after a six week break. Generalization probes suggest the newly acquired requesting skills generalize to untrained items. However, individuals may not be able to complete all phases of the modified PECS protocol. Facilitative effects are more noticeable for social-communicative behaviors than for natural speech production. For the three participants that made speech gains, these gains occurred when speech elicitation was more actively implemented. Such patterns are consistent with previous research on the traditional PECS protocol. These results are discussed in regards to clinical applications and research directions.^
Full thesis here:
Thesis Abstract: Olivia Downs, University of Central Florida
ABSTRACT The ability to communicate is essential for children with developing language systems, and ultimately to being successful academically and eventually vocationally. In a world where communication is vital, children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at a disadvantage and require additional options to express themselves; augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) technologies have presented promising options for helping these children communicate. One technology option that has proven to be of particular interest to families of children with ASD involves the use of AAC iPad apps. Research has been conducted in AAC, ASD, and music, but there is limited research to date which integrates these three areas.
This investigation was designed to address the lack of evidence-based AAC app interventions specifically designed to meet the communication needs of children with ASD. This pilot study will serve to further the evidence available to date indicating that SPEAKall! can be effectively implementing in 1:1 interventions using food reinforcers. This intervention adapts the SPEAKall! intervention protocol in a classroom setting with natural music activities to aid in functional communication.
Full thesis here:
Post treatment brain activity as shown in the green is conducive to speech generation and learning.
Clinical assessments show improvement in requesting skills.
Individuals working through the Speakall! program show steady improvement from Phase 1 to Phase 5. Please see instructional materials for SPEAKMODality program details by phase.
SPEAKall! allows an easy transition from exchange-based communication to using a tablet device.
Exchange-based communication approaches (such as the Picture Exchange Communication System – PECS body & Frost, 1994) are a wide-spread, research-based, low technology AAC strategy for individuals with autism or developmental disabilities. SPEAKall! allows users to emulate exchange-based communication on an iPad. Advantages of using iPads as communication devices include speech output, higher portability, better cost-efficiency, ease of programming, motivation and social appeal for the learner (Flores et al., 2011).
SPEAKall! has an interface very similar to picture communication books and can easily be used within the format of exchange-based instruction. Learners that previously started with PECS can make a smooth transition to using an iPad. Check out our instructional videos and support materials to learn how to infuse SPEAKall! into exchange-based communication. Link to Instructional materials
SPEAKall! provides a communication platform that can grow.
SPEAKall! is easy to program and can be used intuitively by parents and family members, who can assist with and continue AAC intervention at the family home. One way to maximize the effectiveness of an iPad-based AAC intervention is to provide children with as many opportunities to practice iPad communication as possible in natural settings. Parents spend a lot of time with their child and can leaner how to use SPEAKall! to increase such opportunities for communication training and speech and language development. Training materials for parents and family members can be found on our “Instructional Materials” page. Link to Instructional materials
SPEAKall! is an autism-friendly app that reduces cognitive load and minimizes sensory difficulties
Abnormalities with sensory processing are a hallmark characteristic of autism and are frequently found in developmental disabilities. Abnormal reactions to visual stimuli and over-reactivity to sound are among the most common difficulties. In addition, many of these individuals experience some degree of intellectual disability. THis has a direct impact on how the learner processes incoming information; when presented with too many stimuli at once, the learner no longer knows what to pay attention to and how to distinguish salient and important information from background stimuli. SPEAKall! takes a “less is more” approach and avoided the presentation of too many “bells and whistles” that distract the learner. Its user interface is plain and simple to keep cognitive load at a minimum.
SPEAK MODalitites recommends working with a licensed therapist to develop a customized program