Case Study

Charles: An Adult with Developmental Disabilities

Charles has mental retardation as a result of brain damage suffered during birth. When I met him he was living in a group home and had been there since being released from the state institution for persons with mental retardation years before. In association with his brain damage, Charles had apraxia of speech, great trouble moving his lips, tongue, and soft palate to make sounds. My task was to improve his functional communication by encouraging word use instead of grunts or gestures and then teach the skills trainer at his group to do the same. Charles was able to produce two and three word phrases but had not needed words at the institution and so had fallen out of the habit of making the effort required to talk. We met once weekly at his group home for three months with his skills trainer present and we taught the trainer to administer the speech encouragement program. I also trained this person in techniques of indirect language stimulation, using short descriptive phrases to describe what Charles was doing or seeing without asking questions, all in an effort to bolster his receptive language. I then checked on Charles’ progress at six month intervals.

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