Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

We only use strictly necessary cookies for this website. Please see the privacy policy for more information.   


  Download this page as a PDF

Research Specific to the LAMP™ Approach

Neno, C., Ellawadi, A., Cargill, L., Lyle, S. & David, A. (2016). "Vocabulary Development in School-Age Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Users." Poster presented at the American Speech-Language Hearing Association Annual Conference, Philadelphia, PA.

Summary: Researchers collaborated to design and study the effects of a fully immersive Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP)-based classroom. Eight participants were in kindergarten and first grade and spent two hours in a classroom co-taught by three speech-language pathologists and a special educator. The classroom focused on instruction of a set of core vocabulary words instructed across a variety of sensory and scientific/discovery activities. The immersive portion of this classroom took place in large-scale language around a SMARTBoard projecting the Words for Life language program that an adult would model the sequences of the vocabulary being used by the teacher. The findings of this study indicated an upward trend in total use and duration of use of the devices, total number of words used and the frequency of different words used. The most significant data trend (compared to control classrooms) is that the greatest language use was shown after the program had ended indicating that this 8-week intensive program "set the stage" for further language growth.

Bedwani, M., Bruck, S, Costly, D. (2015). “Augmentative and Alternative Communication for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: An Evidence-Based Evaluation of the Language Acquisition through Motor Planning Programme." Cogent Education. 2(1). View Research Article

Summary: Eight participants received intervention with the LAMP approach and SGD for five weeks. All of the children had received previous intervention prior to the study (up to 9 years) yet only 25% of them were able to comment at the baseline assessment. At post-program assessment, all subjects showed significant vocabulary increase, all were requesting using a symbolic means of communication (on the device or using spoken language) and 100% of the children were developing social communication through commenting. Other social communication improvements were also observed in gaining attention (75%), expressing feelings (75%) and greetings (87%). All of the children were independently communicating and were not restricted to vocabulary that had been taught to them. 75% of the children were observed to be using phrases on their device by week 5 of implementation and two of the children in the study were observed at the week 9–10 post-program assessment to be using words with multiple meanings in the right context. There were a range of other outcomes that parents, teachers and speech pathologists observed and reported including an increase in joint attention, interest, motivation and engagement with others, an overall increase in willingness to communicate and an overall increase in play and social communication. For some of the children, this was the first time they were able to communicate and participate in social situations. Behavior was also reported to have improved with a corresponding decrease in frustration as a result of improved expressive communication.

Pulliam, M. H. (2010). “The initial and renewed impact of an AAC device, using the LAMP approach, on an individual with autism spectrum disorder.” Master’s thesis. Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Summary: Case study of a child who used the LAMP approach, then an alternate approach, and the LAMP approach again several years later. Vocabulary increase was only noted during the periods where the LAMP approach was implemented. The same study was published recently in a peer-reviewed journal but they focused on the AAC device rather than the approach.

Neeley, R., Pulliam, M. H., Catt, M., McDaniel, D.M. (2015). “The Impact of Interrupted Use of a Speech Generating Device on the Communication Acts of a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Case Study.” Education. 9:371-379.

Potts, M. and Satterfield, B. (2013). “Studies in AAC and Autism: The Impact of LAMP as a Therapy Intervention.” Georgia’s Assistive Technology Act Program June 20, 2013. View Research Article

Summary: The seven children in this study, who ranged from age three to seven, had a diagnosis of autism or pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and complex communication needs (CCN). All seven were diagnosed with expressive-receptive language disorder. Four presented with severe/profound apraxia. Two were found to have dysarthria of speech. Each obtained a speech generating device (SGD) and received LAMP therapeutic intervention. Each child demonstrated communication progress. Language samples from six participants revealed gains as measured by mean length of utterance (MLU) within the first year. Other progress was noted in areas such as enhanced receptive vocabulary, spontaneous use of language, natural vocalization, and in the reduction of difficult behaviors and increase in shared attention.

Findings Were Presented:

Satterfield, B. & Halloran, J., "Research Insights into LAMP (Language Acquisition through Motor Planning)." Institute Designed for Educating All Students (IDEAS) Conference. (St. Simon’s Island, GA. June, 2013).

Stuart, S. and Ritthaler, C. (2008). “Case Studies of Intermediate Steps/Between AAC Evaluations and Implementation.” Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 17, 150-155. View Research Article

Summary: Informal case studies on two children who began using the LAMP approach with a Vantage SGD with a secondary evaluation/therapy center outside of the schools where they received primary services. Both children showed communication improvement while using the LAMP approach. Difficulties with coordinating services with the primary team and modifications that were made to accommodate the primary team are discussed.

Research Specific to Motor Learning and Speech Generating Devices

Dukhovny, E. "Effect of Size-Centered vs. Location-Centered Grid Design on Aided AAC Productions." Poster session presented at American Speech and Hearing Association Conference; 2015 Nov 12-14; Denver CO.

Summary: Learning of aided AAC displays frequently begins with several large icons, with icon size decreasing as more vocabulary is introduced (“size-centered design”). Another approach introduces small icons from the start, with icon location maintained as new vocabulary is introduced (“location-centered design”). This on-going study compares the effectiveness of these display designs with neurotypical adults. More subjects are needed but location-centered design is trending toward significance for accuracy and speed of access. Findings support using Vocabulary Builder in a complex communication system over providing limited vocabulary in an orientation that will change as language develops.

Dukhovny, E. and Gahl. S. (2014). “Manual motor-plan similarity affects lexical recall on a speech-generating device: implications for AAC users.Journal of Communication Disorders, 48, 52-60.

Summary: Neurotypical adults were more successful with recall of motor patterns to access words on SGD when the motor patterns for those words were dissimilar indicating that motor patterns play a role in access speed and recall. “This study provides initial support for the use of motor sequences in SGD-based language production….Developing motor plan automaticity is a complementary and, in later stages of device use, possibly more efficient, approach to reducing the cognitive load of production (Grabowski, 2010). If SGD-based production quickly becomes automatic, as the current study suggests, one implication is that, with continued SGD use, location of symbols on a grid becomes more relevant to fluent SGD production than the internal visual characteristics of the symbols. Therefore, in planning SGD design and intervention, location of symbols on the AAC device, and the resulting motor plans for accessing symbols, must be taken into account along with visual considerations.”

Thistle, J., Holmes, S., Horn, M. & Reum, A. (2018). “Consistent Symbol Location Affects Motor Learning in Preschoolers Without Disabilities: Implications for Designing Augmentative and Alternative Communication Displays.” American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 1-8.

Summary: The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of consistency of symbol location on preschoolers’ speed of locating target symbols on an AAC display. The authors compared the effect of 2 display designs on the speed of locating target words by preschoolers without disabilities. 2 groups of 12 children each with an average age of 4 years old participated in the study. The participants in the consistent group were asked to locate symbols on arrays that did not change, whereas participants in the variable condition utilized arrays where the symbols changed locations each session. The participants were asked to locate the symbols over 5 sessions, completing 9 trials per session. Regardless of group, participants had an average response time of 6.0 seconds during the 1st session. During the 5th session, participants in the consistent condition had an average response time of 3.3 seconds, whereas participants in the variable condition had an average response time of 6.0 seconds. These results illustrated an advantage of consistent symbol location for preschoolers without disabilities and provide support for validating the application of motor learning principles to AAC display design for children.

References Supporting LAMP Components

Readiness to Learn

  • Ashburner, J., Ziviani, J., & Rodger, S. (2008). Sensory processing and classroom emotional, behavioral, and educational outcomes in children with autism spectrum disorder. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 62(5), 564-573.
  • Ayres, A. Jean (1983). Sensory Integration and the Child. Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services Csíkszentmihályi, Mihály (1998). Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life. New York: Basic Books.
  • Ayres, J., Mailloux, Z., and Wendler, C. (1987). “Developmental dyspraxia: is it a unitary function?” Occupational Therapy Journal of Research, 7, 93-110.
  • Dunn W. (1997). Implementing neuroscience principles to support habilitation and recovery. In: Christiansen C, Baum C, eds., Occupational Therapy: Enabling Function and Well-Being. 2nd ed. Thorofare, NJ: SLACK Incorporated, 186-232.
  • Kranowitz, Carol Stock and Miller, Lucy Jane, The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping With Sensory Processing Disorder, Revised Edition. Skylight Press. 2005
  • Lupien, SJ, Maheu F, Tu M, Fiocco A, Schramek TE (2007). "The effects of stress and stress hormones on human cognition: Implications for the field of brain and cognition". Brain and Cognition 65: 209–237
  • Tomcheck, Scott D. and Dunn, Winnie. (2007). “Sensory Processing in Children with and Without Autism: A Comparative Study Using the Short Sensory Profile.” American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61, 190-200.

Joint Engagement

  • Adamson, Lauren B., Bakeman, Roger and Deckner, Deborah F., (2004). “The development of symbol-infused joint engagement.” Child Development. 75: 1171-1187.
  • Adamson, Lauren B.; Bakeman, Roger; Deckner, Deborah F.; and Romski, MaryAnn. (2009). “Joint Engagement and the Emergence of Language in Children with Autism and Down Syndrome.” Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorder. 39(1): 84-96.
  • Bakeman R., Adamson L. B. (1984). “Coordinating attention to people and objects in motor-infant and peer-infant interaction.” Child Development. 55: 1278-1289.
  • Harris S., Kasari C, Sigman MD. (1996). “Joint attention and language gains in children with Down Syndrome.” American Journal on Mental Retardation. 100:608-619.
  • Kasari, Connie; Freeman, Stephanny; Paparella, Tanya. (2005). “Joint attention and symbolic play in young children with autism: a randomized controlled intervention study.” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 47: 611-620.
  • Kasari, Connie; Paparella, Tanya; Freeman, Stephanny; Jahromi, Laudan B. (2008). “Language outcome in autism: Randomized comparison of joint attention and play interventions.” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 76: 125-137.
  • Lewy, Arthur L. and Dawson, Geraldine. (1992). “Social stimulation and joint attention in young autistic children.” Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. 20 (6): 555-567.
  • Moore, Chris; Dunham, Philip J. and Dunham, Phil. (1995). “Joint Attention Across Contexts in Normal and Autistic Children.” In Sigman, Marian and Kassari, Connie eds. Joint Attention: It’s Origins and Role in Development. London: Psychology Press.
  • Siller, Michael and Sigman, Marian. “The Behaviors of Parents of Children with Autism Predict the Subsequent Development of Their Children's Communication.” Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 32: 77-89.

Consistent and Unique Motor Plans

  • Duffy, E. (1962). Activation and Behavior. Oxford, England: Wiley.
  • Gentile, A. M. (1972). “A working model of skill acquisition with application to teaching.” Quest, 17, 3-23.
  • Hebbs, D.O., (1949). The Organization of Behavior: A Neuropsychological Theory. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Ferguson, Janice M. and Catherine A. Trombly. (1997). “The effect of added-purpose and meaningful occupation on motor learning.” American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 51, 508-515.
  • Higgins, Susan. (1991). “Motor Skill Acquisition.” Physical Therapy, 71, 123-139.
  • Jarus, Tal and Yael Loiter. (1995). “The effect of kinesthetic stimulation on acquisition and retention of a gross motor skill.” Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy. 62, 23-29.
  • Keele, Steven W. (1968). “Movement Control in Skilled Motor Performance.” Psychological Bulletin 70, 387-403.
  • Keele, Steven W., Matthew Davidson, and Amy Hayes. “Sequential representation and the neural basis of motor skills.” Motor Behavior and Human Skill: a multidisciplinary approach. Jan Piek, ed. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. 1998. 3-27.
  • Lee, Timothy D., Laurie R. Swanson, Anne L. Hall. (1991). “What is repeated in a repetition? Effects of practice conditions on motor skill acquisition.” Physical Therapy 71, 150-156.
  • Levelt, Willem J. M. (1989). Speaking: From Intention to Articulation. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.
  • Schmidt, Richard A. (2003) “Motor schema theory after 27 years: reflections and implications for a new theory.” Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport. 74, 366-375.
  • Schmidt, Richard A. and Lee, Timothy D. (2005). Motor Control and Learning: A Behavioral Emphasis. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  • Schmidt, Richard A. and Wrisberg, Craig A (2008). Motor Learning and Performance. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Auditory Signal

  • Boddaert, N., Chabane, N., Belin, P., Bourgeois, M., Royer, V., Barthelemy, C., Mouren-Simeoni, M. C., Philippe, A., Brunelle, F., Samson, F. and Zilbovicius, M. (2004). “Perception of Complex Sounds in Autism: Abnormal Auditory Cortical Processing in Children.” American Journal of Psychiatry. 161: 2117 - 2120.
  • Courchesne E, Kilman BA, Galambos R, Lincoln AJ. (1984). “Autism: processing of novel auditory information assessed by event-related brain potentials.” Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology. 59: 238-248.
  • D’Ausilio, Alessandro, Pulvermuller, Friedemann, Salmas, Paola, Bufalari, Ilaria, Begliomini, Chiara, and Fadiga, Luciano. 2009. “The motor somatotopy of speech perception.” Current Biology. 19: 1-5.
  • Fadiga, L, Craighero, L, Buccino, G, Rizzolatti, G. 2002. “Speech listening specifically modulates the excitability of tongue muscles: a TMS study. European Journal of Neuroscience. 15(2): 399-402.
  • LeDoux, Joseph. (2002)Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are. New York: Penguin Books.
  • Parsons, C. L., and La Sorte, D. 1993. “The effect of computers with synthesized speech and no speech on the spontaneous communication of children with autism.” Australian Journal of Human Communication Disorders. 21:12-31
  • Pinker, S. (1994). The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language. New York: HarperCollins. Rowland, Benjamin A. and Stein, Barry E. 2007. “Multisensory integration produces an initial response enhancement.” Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience. 1:4.
  • Russo, N., Foxe, J. J., Brandwein, A. B., Altschuler, T., Gnomes, H., and Molholm, S. 2010. “Multisensory processing in children with autism: high-density electrical mapping of auditory-somatosensory integration.” Autism Research. 3:1-15.
  • Schroeder, C. E., Smiley, J., Fu, K. G., McGinnis, T., O’Connell, M. N., and Hackett, T. A. 2003. “Anatomical mechanisms and functional implications of multisensory convergence in early cortical processing.” International Journal of Psychophysiology.” (50). 5-17.
  • Stein, B. E. 1998. “Neural mechanisms for synthesizing sensory information and producing adaptive behaviors.” Experimental Brain Research. 123:124-135.
  • Tecchio, F, Benassi, F, Zappasodi, F, Gialloreti, L. E., Palermo, M., Seri, S, and Rossini, P. M. (2003). “Auditory Sensory Processing in Autism: A Magnetoencephalographic Study.” Biological Psychiatry. 54: 647–654.
  • Tsao, Feng-Mint, Liu, Huei-Mei, and Kuhl, Patricia K. 2004. “Speech perception in infancy predicts language development in the second year of life: a longitudinal study.” Child Development. 75: 1067-1084.
  • Vihman, M. M. and Nakai, S. (2003). “Experimental evidence for an effect of vocal experience on infant speech perception. In Proceedings of the 15th international congress of phonetic sciences (pp. 1017-1020). Barcelona.
  • Westermann, Gert and Miranda, Eduardo Reck. 2004. “A new model of sensorimotor coupling in the development of speech.” Brain and Language. (89). 393-400.
  • Winstein, Carolee J. (1991). “Knowledge of results and motor learning – implications for physical therapy.” 71, 140-149.
  • Zelaznic, Howard N. (1996). Advances in Motor Control and Learning. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.