VAST-Autism provides unprecedented support for spoken language, combining evidence-based best practices and technology to deliver remarkable results.
VAST-Autism is a groundbreaking tool that provides state-of-the-art therapy to students with autism and motor speech programming disorders such as apraxia. VAST-Autism combines the highly effective concept of video modeling with written words and auditory cues to help individuals acquire relevant words, phrases and sentences so that they can speak for themselves. For children and individuals with strong visual skills, this can be a key to developing speech.
Ongoing research and initial pilot studies indicate that students are highly interested in VAST videos, and will almost immediately attempt lip movements or touch their mouths in response to the models. After a few short weeks, many students who were essentially nonverbal began word approximations and word attempts more readily. Perhaps, the best and most unexpected therapeutic improvements have been in the students’ ability to generalize skills. Individuals may begin attending to the speaker’s oral motor movements during daily communication and continue learning speech in a traditional, naturalistic manner.
The mirror feature promotes oral motor sequencing and self-monitoring. Using a mirror while practicing speech sounds can provide visual feedback to help individuals improve their muscle coordination and sequencing for speech production. Visual input can be an important source of feedback in developmental apraxia of speech. Individuals should focus on how to produce the target sounds/words from a model and then observe and monitor their own attempts by using a mirror.
After trialing the application with her students, Harumi Kato, MS, CCC-SLP said:
“My students showed immediate results. To my surprise, after the FIRST trail, they started to vocalize some sounds.”
Videos are organized into a hierarchy of 5 categories beginning with syllables and ending with sentences. Each video gives a spoken target utterance that is preceded by the written word(s). Each word, phrase and sentence is concrete and has meaning that can be generalized and practiced throughout the day. Providing the written word will prevent a student from labeling a picture of a frog jumping as "go, " a person laying on a mat as "break time" or labeling a swing as "weee." The ability to recognize the written target word(s) will increase functional communication and enhance acquisition of spoken language. The progression of VAST-Autism Videos is as follows:
1. Syllable Repetition
2. Single Syllable Words
3. Multi-Syllabic Words
This “Core” app represents the first release of the VAST-Autism program. We intend to expand upon this offering through future applications and via the SpeakinMotion web-based platform.
As it becomes available, we will provide more extensive information about the application and professional guidance surrounding its use on the web at:
Video Modeling- A significant amount of research has shown video modeling to be rapid and highly effective not only in teaching new behaviors, but also in generalizing and maintaining these behaviors as well.
Visual Language and Literacy- Children and adults on the spectrum who have difficulty with speaking and writing, can learn to read and spell. The ability to read increases functional communication. Information that is not understood auditorally may be easily processed visually. Providing written word(s) to individuals with autism also prevents mislabeling concepts, for example, a car would not be labeled "beep beep."