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Speech Therapy

Sounds Aloud! was developed by music and speech therapists at Giant Steps Sydney to address the speech sound production needs of students attending the school.  As a part of the school’s literacy program, Sounds Aloud! was developed from observation of students improved ability and willingness to imitate sounds in singing activities during music therapy sessions. The program was designed around the specific needs of children with autism, taking into consideration their learning strengths and challenges. Specifically, the program incorporated the use of a visual image alphabet and phonetic alphabet songs tailored to address specific initial sounds.
 
The focus for each Sounds Aloud! grouping is dependent on the identified student specific goals and could include a combination of social communication goals such as turn taking and joint attention, improving speech sound production, initiating communicative exchanges using speech or AAC, and developing phonological awareness and pre-reading skills.   The poster below outlines a specific Sounds Aloud! 18-week intervention delivered across 2 school terms that focused on improving the quality and range of sounds students were able to produce in initial word position. These students already used speech as part of their overall communication system.
 
During this action research, students were assessed prior to the commencement of and at the end of the program using a formal articulation assessment, modified to enable each individual student to access the assessment. The aim of the action research was to investigate if the student’s articulation of targeted initial phonemes improved at the completion of the Sounds Aloud! program, and whether this improvement was limited to the target sounds or if it was seen across all initial phonemes.  Giant Steps believes this action research is an important initial step in investigating how speech sound production can be taught in a functional and relevant way for students with autism and an intellectual disability.
 
Sounds Aloud! 2011 Poster