Tutorial: Speech motor chaining treatment for school-age children with speech sound disorders

Jonathan L. Preston, Megan C. Leece, Jaclyn Storto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose: Operationalized treatments for school-age children with speech sound disorders may result in more replicable and evidence-based interventions. This tutorial describes Speech Motor Chaining (SMC) procedures, which are designed to build complex speech around core movements by incorporating several principles of motor learning. The procedures systematically manipulate factors such as feedback type and frequency, practice variability, and stimulus complexity based on the child’s performance. Method: The rationale and procedures for SMC are described. Examples are presented of how to design stimuli, deliver feedback, and adapt the approach. Free resources are provided to guide clinicians through implementation of the procedure. Data on fidelity of implementation and dose per session are presented. Clinical and research evidence is provided to illustrate likely outcomes with the procedure. Results: SMC is a method that can result in successful acquisition of target speech patterns and generalization to untrained words. Most clinicians can implement the procedure with over 90% fidelity, and most children can achieve over 200 trials per session. Conclusion: Clinicians and researchers can use or adapt the operationally defined SMC procedures to incorporate several principles of motor learning into treatment for school-age children with speech sound disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-355
Number of pages13
JournalLanguage, speech, and hearing services in schools
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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