The Core Vocabulary Approach (Crosbie, Holm & Dodd, 2005; Crosbie, Pine, Holm & Dodd, 2006) is intended for children with Inconsistent Speech Disorder (Broomfield & Dodd, 2004a; Dodd, 2005).

The inconsistency assessment of the DEAP allows the tester to identify those children who have atypical speech that is characterised by multiple error forms in the production of single words. If the child produces 40% (10 out of 25) or more words differently over the three trials then the child is deemed to have an inconsistent speech disorder.

Before the first session

Parents are asked to provide a list of 50 words (minimum) that are frequently part of their child’s functional vocabulary.

These words form the basis for therapy sessions because intelligible use of these functionally powerful words motivates the use of consistent production.

It is emphasised that their child said the word exactly the same way every time they attempted to say it, not necessarily error-free production.

Therapy sessions

The sessions are usually biweekly for 30 to 40 minutes per session in the presence of parents.

The first session is devoted to teaching the target words (10 words per week) aiming at best production using a variety of cues:

  • Teaching sound by sound
  • Breaking words into syllables
  • If necessary using Cued Articulation.

The second session involves drill work focussing on a high number of productions of the newly learned words. In order to monitor production, both visual and verbal feedback is provided. Reward systems can also be used.

Parents are an integral part of this programme and help in monitoring generalisation by supervising daily practice of words at home.

This approach is evidence-based and research findings support the hypothesis that the underlying deficit of inconsistent speech disorder is phonological planning and not cognitive-linguistic deficit (Crosbie, Holm and Dodd, 2005).

Further information

You can find out more about this approach by visiting