The effects of auditory-motor mapping training on speech output of nonverbal elementary age students with autism spectrum disorder

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sara Miller Massey (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Patricia Sink

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of auditory-motor mapping training (AMMT) on the speech output of nonverbal elementary age students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Auditory-motor mapping training facilitates the development of association between sounds and articulatory actions using intonation and bimanual drumming activities. This intervention purportedly stimulates neural networks that may be dysfunctional in persons with ASD. Seven nonverbal children with a primary diagnosis of ASD participated in twelve 20-minute weekly sessions consisting of engagement with 15 predetermined target words through imitation, singing, and motor activity (all components of AMMT). Assessments were made at baseline, mid-point, and post AMMT intervention sessions. These probes were used to determine the effects of AMMT on expressive language abilities of speech output. A null hypothesis was tested to determine the significance of the independent variables of singing, showing visual cues, and drumming on the speech output of nonverbal children with ASD, age five through eight years (p = .05). Additionally, effects of AMMT on children's development of social communication skills also were examined at the end of each intervention session. Results of the study revealed no significant effect of the AMMT intervention on the speech output of elementary age children with ASD from the best baseline to probe one and probe two (p = .424), therefore the null hypothesis that there was no significant effect of auditory-motor mapping training (AMMT) on speech output of nonverbal elementary children with ASD was retained. Additionally, a comparison of the growth of the independent ‘High Five’ gesture from session one to session twelve yielded no statistical significant results (p > .05). The McNemar chi-square was used to compare this secondary AMMT effect from sessions two to eleven, and revealed a positive growth trend that approached a significant outcome associated with the children's social communication responses (p =.063). Although significant changes in the nonverbal children's speech output were not substantiated in this study, there were areas of growth for all children in this study that were highlighted through qualitative analysis and descriptive narratives. Confounding variables that possibly affected children's speech output and social communication development were addressed. Additionally, recommendations were made for future research involving music as a vehicle for speech development for nonverbal elementary age children with ASD.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Autism, Language, Music, Music therapy, Nonverbal, Speech output
Children with autism spectrum disorders $x Rehabilitation
Music therapy for children
Speech therapy for children
Autistic children $x Language
Language acquisition
Social skills in children

Email this document to