Investigation of speech motor control and fine motor control in children with autism

Louise McKeever

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Fine motor control is frequently impaired in children with autism, however, speech motor control has been found to be unimpaired in some studies using perceptual methods. This is despite the need for intricate movement of the tongue required for accurate speech. However, a small number of studies found residual and non-developmental speech errors are significantly higher in a sample of children with autism (33-40%) than the normal adult population (1-2%; Shriberg et al., 2001; Cleland et al., 2010). Conflicting evidence may be due to unreliable perceptual analysis that relies on auditory skills of the assessor. The cause of these speech errors is still in debate.

Our research will investigate speech errors in autism using Ultrasound Tongue Imaging (UTI). It will be used to identify any inaccurate or uncoordinated movements of the tongue which could indicate a motor impairment. We aim to determine whether errors in fine motor control are echoed in errors of speech. Using UTI eliminates the higher likelihood of variation and inaccuracy of perceptual assessments. Additionally, we will compare UTI and perceptual assessments to determine whether there are speech errors missed in clinic through the use of perceptual assessment only.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2017
Event5th International Winter School: Speech Perception and Production: Learning and Memory - Chorin, Germany, Berlin, Germany
Duration: 9 Jan 201713 Jan 2017


Conference5th International Winter School: Speech Perception and Production
Internet address


  • motor control
  • children
  • autism
  • speech errors
  • speech and language therapy


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