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Prosody interventions for ASD: Systematic review (Holbrook & Israelsen, 2020)

journal contribution
posted on 06.08.2020 by Sarai Holbrook, Megan Israelsen
Purpose: Persons with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may demonstrate abnormal prosodic patterns in conversational speech, which can negatively affect social interactions. The purpose of this systematic review was to identify interventions measuring the improvement of expressive speech prosody in persons with ASD in order to support clinician’s evidence-based decision making.
Method: We used 13 electronic databases to search for relevant articles using terms related to autism, intervention, and speech prosody. The databases identified a total of nine articles for the title, abstract, and full-text reviews. Five more articles were included after performing descendant and reference searches. One peer-reviewed article was excluded due to insufficient data received from the authors. We coded the resulting 13 articles for report, setting, intervention, outcome, and results characteristics and methodological quality.
Results: Results showed that interventions specifically targeting speech prosody using established and emerging evidence-based practices across more than 1 treatment day resulted in moderate to large improvements in speech prosody in persons with ASD. Interventions that indirectly targeted prosody or were very short resulted in small or nonsignificant effects.
Discussion: The results of this literature review suggest that interventions that directly target speech prosody using established evidence-based practices for ASD may be most effective for increasing typical prosodic patterns during speech for persons with ASD. Further research is needed to establish which interventions are most effective for each age range and context.

Supplemental Material S1. Databases searched and search terms.

Supplemental Material S2. Coding master sheet.

Holbrook, S., & Israelsen, M. (2020). Speech prosody interventions for persons with autism spectrum disorders: A systematic review. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_AJSLP-19-00127