Novel Language Intervention Study (ages 5-12)

Research Study


We are testing the effectiveness of two speech interventions designed to help minimally verbal children with ASD learn to produce speech sounds, words, and simple phrases. Using noninvasive methods to record brain activity, we are seeking to identify brain ‘markers’ that could (1) help predict the kinds of children who will benefit most from these interventions and (2) determine whether any changes have occurred in the brain over the course of the intervention.

Before and after the intervention, each child will undergo a behavioral evaluation and EEG (to measure the brain’s electrical activity) at Boston University, and also speech assessments at BIDMC. These
assessments will allow us to measure each child’s progress over the course of the intervention and to see whether language gains remain stable over time.

Children will be randomized to either the AMMT or SRT intervention group. After a series of pre-intervention speech assessments, children will receive 25 therapy sessions each lasting about 45 minutes, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s West Campus. Follow-up speech assessments will be done both during and after the intervention. Altogether, therapy sessions and assessments at BIDMC will take approximately 7 weeks.

Who can Participate?
Children ages 5.5 years to 12 years, at the time of enrollment, who:

  • Have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Are minimally verbal or have almost no communicative speech
  • Are able to sit at a table for at least 15 minutes

What is involved?

  • Table top and computer-based activities to assess behavior and language at BU.
  • Noninvasive EEG at Boston University
  • An intensive speech intervention (5-7 weeks; 25 sessions) including a series of speech assessments both before and after intervention at BIDMC.

How can families benefit?

  • Gift Cards for assessments at BU,
  • The possibility of improving your child’s production of speech sounds, words and phrases.
  • The knowledge that your family is helping test interventions that may help other minimally verbal children with ASD in the future.