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On the Road to VOCA with Young People who have Down Syndrome

Practice Report
  • Leela Baksi (Symbol UK Ltd)

Building on work by Murray-Branch and Gamradt, this paper advocates routine consideration of voice output communication aids (VOCA) as an augmentative form of communication for young people with Down syndrome who have more severe speech production difficulties, in the context of a Total Communication Approach. Introduction and support of VOCA should take into account syndrome-specific considerations.


This paper draws on four case studies with clinical work of seven to fourteen years. The young people received targeted intervention that takes into account the syndrome-specific communication profile and learning style, with comprehensive speech and language therapy intervention to maximise speech production skills and to develop language and communication.


Learning from work with the older children (15, 22 yrs) has informed strategies and approach with the younger cohort (10, 14 yrs).


VOCA can be used to good effect by young people with Down syndrome to enhance communicative effectiveness, in the context of comprehensive and long term speech and language therapy intervention.

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