Volunteers requested for speech course

The Autism Research Centre in Cambridge is looking for volunteers to take part in a new research study. We are running a pilot randomised controlled trial of a speech course aimed to help parents to develop the oral-motor articulation of speech sounds in their children with autism. The course is commercially available on the platform Cambridge Autism Learning (http://cambridgeautismlearning.com/), which is a community interest company jointly owned between Linguisticator and the Autism Research Trust. The purpose of the study is to evaluate whether the course and our methods are effective, identify areas for improvement, and further understanding into speech production in minimally verbal children with autism.

The study can be done completely online, but some local parents will be asked to visit Cambridge for two testing sessions. Measures of speech sounds, language and daily functioning will be taken before and after the 6 week study period, during which time participants will either use the speech course for 6 weeks, or be in the control group. The control group will not have access to the speech course during this time, but will get it afterwards.

We are looking to recruit parents or carers of children who: are aged 3-10 years old (inclusive), have a diagnosis of autism, are minimally verbal (defined as having less than 30 words that can be understood by most people), and do not have any genetic conditions or uncorrected hearing impairments to take part in the study. Your child’s main barrier to speech should be the motor skills involved in speech sound production, as this is what the course aims to improve.

Further details can be found at https://www.autismresearchcentre.net/docs/JN_Speech_Pilot_Study_PIS.pdf . If you would like to participate in the study, or if you have any questions, please contact Josie Newman at speechcoursestudy@medschl.cam.ac.uk or phone 01223 465231.