For those children who are non-verbal or have limited verbal abilities, evidence-based research has identified that a communicative approach based on neurological and motor planning principles can be beneficial. LAMP is one intervention approach that has it’s theory grounded in these principles.
So, what is motor planning?
When learning to speak we practice making all of the speech sounds over and over. That is why you hear children repeat what you say, and one reason why they might love to hear you read the same book again and again.
Our brain develops a motor pattern (sequence of movements) for each speech sound. The motor pattern identifies where the tongue needs to be, what position the lips need to be in, if the speech sound needs to be voiced or not. For example, when producing the “b” sound, we bring our lips together which stops the flow of air, we turn on our voice and then we open our lips to release the air. Whereas, to produce the “s” sound our tongue can be positioned with the tip up or down, however unlike the “b” sound the air travels over the top of the tongue and our voice is off. Tongue placement is dependent on if the tip is up or down; if the tongue tip is up, it sits slightly back from the front teeth, and if the tongue tip is down it sits behind the bottom front teeth. The front teeth come together with a small gap and our lips are slightly apart to allow the air to escape.
LAMP’s vocabulary systems are pictures that are set in consistent and unique positions within their Words For Life program. This allows the user to practice the repetition of physical movements when locating specific words (like the repetition when learning speech sounds) and reinforcing the motor planning process. The set positions of words let’s the user locate words within three taps, which helps with spontaneous and independent communication.