Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

2013 Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar

Minimal Speech Approach

  • Kelly MacyEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1698-3_797


The minimal speech approach was developed by Potter and Whittaker (2001) to enable communication in children with autism. This approach requires the caregiver or interventionist to use simple speech, consisting of one to three words, usually nouns, which are paired with nonverbal communication. The nonverbal communication can consist of a picture, an object, or a gesture, which help to facilitate comprehension. For example, using the minimal speech approach, the therapist might say “lunch” and point to a picture communication symbol of a lunch box rather than saying “All right, choice time is over now. We need to put everything away and get ready for lunch. Let’s go.”

In order to create a communication-enabling environment, key characteristics of this approach include reducing the use of speech in all situations, appropriate mapping of single words, giving information in nonverbal ways, minimizing running commentary, delaying the use of speech when teaching new tasks, and...

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References and Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication SciencesThe University of VermontBurlingtonUSA