This study examined intervention intensity and service delivery with school-age children with mild or mild–moderate speech sound disorders. The commonly used business-as-usual (BAU) service delivery model and a shorter, more frequent, individual model (experimental [EXP]) were compared.
A between-subjects group design was selected. In BAU, 11 children received group sessions, 2 times per week, 30 min per session for 6 weeks. In EXP, 11 children received individual session, 3 times per week, 5 min per session for 6 weeks. Group differences on measures of dose (i.e., therapeutic input and production trials) and cumulative treatment intensity were examined. The extent to which children, across both conditions, demonstrated gains in speech sound accuracy and the extent to which gains differed between BAU and EXP were examined.
There was a significant group difference on dose. Children in BAU received more therapeutic input and production trials than children in EXP. Cumulative treatment intensity was not statistically different between groups when dose was calculated as therapeutic input or production trials. Results from both conditions indicated statistically significant differences on measures of speech sound accuracy with large effect sizes. No group differences on gains were noted.
Dose calculated as therapeutic input and production trials plays an important role in understanding the impact of cumulative intervention intensity. Children with mild or mild–moderate speech sound disorders may benefit more from a shorter, frequent, individual service delivery model than a BAU model.