Minimal Speech Approach
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...
References and Readings
- Potter, C., & Whittaker, C. (2001). Enabling communication in children with Autism. Philadelphia: Kingsley.Google Scholar
- Prelock, P. A. (2006). Interventions to support communication. In Autism spectrum disorders: Issues in assessment and intervention (pp. 409–412). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.Google Scholar
- Schuler, A. L., Prizant, B. M., & Wetherby, A. M. (1997). Enhancing language and communication development: Prelinguistic approaches. In D. J. Cohen & F. R. Volkmar (Eds.), Handbook of autism and pervasive developmental disorders. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar