In this edition of the blog we summarize research on: the efficacy of PROMPT for children with severe motor speech disorders, the comparative accuracy of several developmental screening questionnaires, and the connection between behavioral inhibition in infants and long-term outcomes.
PROMPT intervention for children with severe speech motor delay: a randomized control trial
Motor-speech disorders are often challenging to identify and treat in young children, but a few interventions have emerged to target these disorders. In this study, the authors evaluated the efficacy of PROMPT, a manualized intervention for motor speech disorders. Children between 3-10 years old received PROMPT therapy twice a week over a ten week period, after which their speech-motor control, articulation, intelligibility, and overall communication was measured. They found that children who received PROMPT had significantly greater change in their control, articulation, and word-level intelligibility than a waitlist-control group. However, only weak effects of intervention were found in phonological processing, sentence-level intelligibility, and functional communication. This provides preliminary evidence for the effectiveness of PROMPT on some aspects of motor-speech disorders, but further research is necessary to determine its longitudinal effectiveness and effectiveness on higher-level communication. This study was funded by the creators of PROMPT, and although the authors report that the PROMPT institute did not contribute to the design, interpretation, or writing of the study, further research independent from the PROMPT Institute should be conducted to confirm there were no conflicts of interests.
Comparative Accuracy of Developmental Screening Questionnaires
Early diagnosis of developmental disorders is important to ensure that children receive appropriate services, and screening questionnaires are often used to help identify children most in need of evaluations. In this study, parents at 10 pediatrician offices filled out three developmental screening questionnaires. Those who flagged on screeners, as well as a random selection of those who passed their screeners, were given comprehensive developmental evaluations. The questionnaires included the Ages & Stages Questionnaire, Third Edition (ASQ-3); Parents’ Evaluation of Developmental Status (PEDS); and Survey of Well-being of Young Children (SWYC): Milestones. The researchers found that the ASQ-3 and the SWYC questionnaires did a better job of identifying young children (under 3.5 years old) who did not have developmental delays while the ASQ-3 did a better job than the SWYC Milestones and PEDS questionnaires amongst older children. However, the SWYC Milestones and PEDS did a better job of identifying children with mild delays than the ASQ-3. Further research should focus on ways to make the screeners relevant to broad populations for efficient use in real-world settings.
Infant behavioral inhibition predicts personality and social outcomes three decades later
Research has suggested that temperament measured in childhood remains stable throughout development, but less is known about how temperament predicts adult outcomes. In this study, the researchers measured the inhibition of individuals in infancy and followed them over three decades to evaluate their social outcomes and mental health as adults. They found that infants with higher levels of inhibition had more reserved personalities and lower social functioning as adults, but there were no differences in education or career outcomes based on infant behavioral inhibition. They also found that infants with high levels of inhibition in infancy who had distinct neurophysiological markers as teenagers were more likely to have mental health difficulties as adults. This study suggests that personality characteristics and neurophysiological markers measured in childhood may be associated with adult outcomes; however, future research should consider the impact of individuals’ environments, experiences, and family history to determine what drives these outcomes and how to optimize treatment for those at risk for mental health difficulties.