VAST Pre-Speech Motor Planning

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About this app

Designed for individuals on the Autism spectrum who are non-verbal or have minimal verbal skills due to a motor speech planning disorder such as apraxia.

Children with apraxia of speech have difficulty planning speech movements of the tongue, lips, palate and jaw (articulators), hindering their development of verbal speech.

Does your child have challenges with everyday activities such as:

- Blowing their nose
- Spitting out toothpaste
- Mastication and Pocketing food
- Imitating or making sounds

This app utilizes the highly effective concept of video modeling and auditory cues to promote awareness of oral structures, coordination, muscle grading, tone, chewing, the swallowing of food and saliva and speech clarity; eventually working towards students gaining the ability to speak for themselves. In clinical trials, the VAST videos have been highly effective in increasing a child’s ability to attend to a communication partner’s mouth in the natural environment.

The VAST Videos are organized into 4 categories: Syllables & Sounds,Functional Activities, Oral Kinesthesia and Sensory Integration. All activities are designed to:

-Promote awareness of oral structures and articulators
-Increase speech clarity
-Improve coordination, proprioception, tone & muscle grading of articulators
-Encourage skills for functional activities that include blowing, sucking, chewing and licking
-Increase awareness and ability to swallow food and saliva, while decreasing pocketing of food
-Promote carryover from therapy to home

There is a growing amount of clinical evidence that suggests motor speech impairments such as apraxia are a significant factor in hampering the development of verbal speech in children with autism.

Traditional Motor Speech Therapy will have students watch a therapist say a word or syllable then repeat the activity (usually X10). This technique does not usually work well for people with autism due to the challenges with making eye contact or looking at a person’s face. It is difficult to see how the articulators move when the ability to look at the face is fleeting.

The videos in this app make it possible to effectively demonstrate pre-speech and functional motor movements without the challenges of face to face interactions - students with autism may intently watch these videos, free from the distraction of personal interaction.

To decrease visual distraction and focus attention on a desired task, use VAST videos with VR goggles. This increases an individuals perceptual load to relevant information and decreases irrelevant visual/auditory information that may be distracting.

Video Modeling is an Evidence Based Practice (EBP). A significant amount of research has shown video modeling to be rapid and highly effective not only in teaching new behaviors, but also in generalizing and maintaining these behaviors as well - particularly when using multiple videos showing the same skill across people. Video Modeling involves the individual or child observing a videotape of a model engaging in a target behavior and subsequently imitating that behavior.

The optional mirror feature promotes oral motor sequencing and self-monitoring. Using a mirror while practicing speech sounds and oral motor movement can provide visual feedback to help individuals improve their muscle coordination and sequencing for speech production.

The video feature can be used to capture a video of the student themselves producing the target sound or activity. Visual input can be an important source of feedback in remediation of developmental apraxia of speech. Individuals should focus on how to produce the target sounds/movements from a model and then observe and monitor their own attempts by using a mirror/video/camera.
Updated on
Jul 31, 2023

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