Current Research Findings

The American Speech-Language Hearing Association’s (ASHA) website is an excellent resource for learning about communication disorders. As a member of ASHA for over 25 years and recipient of ASHA’s ACE award for continuing education, I have consulted our association numerous times regarding questions about research, ethics, private practice policy and referrals.  Their evidence maps summarize recent scholarly articles about a wide range of communication disorders. Recently, ASHA reviewed 12 studies that examined the relationship between parents’ MLU or mean length of utterance and language outcomes in children with developmental disabilities, including autism. The summary conclusion was that although numerous intervention packages that have shown to be effective for children with language disabilities recommend that parents use shortened speech when communicating with their children, there is insufficient evidence to support this recommendation. In fact, with autistic children, there may be a negative effect from using shortened speech; evidence suggests that children with autism may benefit from hearing longer, more grammatically complex sentences.

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