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What is LAMP™?

Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) is a therapeutic approach based on neurological and motor learning principles. The goal is to give individuals who are nonverbal or have limited verbal abilities a method of independently and spontaneously expressing themselves in any setting.

LAMP was developed out of the clinical practices of John Halloran, MS, CCC-SLP, Cindy Halloran, OTR/L, and Mia Emerson, MS, CCC-SLP. In their interactions with nonverbal individuals with autism, they found that:

  • Giving individuals access to core words on a speech-generating device,
  • Teaching those words in sensory-rich activities, and
  • Accessing each word on the device with a consistent, unique motor pattern with auditory feedback provided a means for developing independent communication.

What Makes LAMP Effective?

Language and social interaction may be affected by impairments in motor skills and auditory and sensory processing. Some interventions currently in use with individuals with autism focus on the perceived strengths associated with autism, such as visual learning and the desire for structure.

The LAMP approach not only utilizes visual learning and the desire for structure, but it also addresses core deficits affecting language delay to improve spontaneous, generative communication.

LAMP strives to improve language and communication by:

  • Imitating the neurological processes associated with typical speech development
  • Pairing a consistent motor movement with consistent auditory feedback and a natural response while using a speech generating device.

There are no cognitive prerequisites for the implementation of LAMP as intervention can begin at the cause and effect level and systematically build upon the stages of natural language development.


Ongoing research has shown the following improvements when LAMP strategies are used:

  • Increased spontaneous communication in any environment
  • Use of unique combinations of words
  • Increased mean length of utterance (MLU)
  • Enhanced receptive vocabulary
  • Use of various communicative functions
  • Increased natural vocalization

While this approach was initially developed to give nonverbal individuals with autism a means of communication, it can be adapted to benefit individuals with a variety of disabilities.

Even though each individual’s progress will vary, presuming competence is essential to maximizing potential. LAMP is not a cure, but a method for providing an individual with a language system that can progress from first words to fluent communication.