Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 2011


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



School Psychology


School of Education

Committee Chair

Tammy L. Hughes

Committee Member

Jeffery A. Miller

Committee Member

Kara E. McGoey


Fluency, Skill acquisition


Landau Kleffner Syndrome, or acquired epileptic aphasia, is an epileptic syndrome involving a neurological impairment related to the appearance of paroxysmal (i.e., sudden intense) electroencephalograph (EEG) activity (Pearl, Carrazana & Holmes, 2001). Landau Kleffner syndrome results from an epileptogenic lesion arising in the speech cortex during a critical period of development, which may interfere with the establishment of satisfactory and functional circuits for normal language function (Morrell et al., 1995). LKS is a complex and severe syndrome that affects all aspects of a child's life, including communication, socialization, and the everyday ability to function within the environment.

An option for treatment of LKS is Multiple Subpial Transection Surgery (MST). MST surgery is a surgical procedure designed to eradicate the capacity of cortical tissue to generate seizures or subclinical epileptiform activity, while maintaining the cortical functions of the remaining tissues (Grote, Van Slyke, & Hoeppner, 1999). Once surgery is complete, it is necessary to provide direct, intensive instruction to rebuild language skills starting from very basic (preverbal) components (Vance, 1991). The Morningside Model of Generative Instruction is a model of selected basic psychomotor component skills (e.g., point, pinch, reach, turn, squeeze, & shake) that are explicitly taught in a hierarchical sequence. These skills are built to a fluent level, and then sequenced into complex behavioral repertoires (Johnson & Street, 2004).

The examination of the relationship between fluency-based instruction and skill acquisition for children diagnosed with LKS will contribute to the literature by extending and clarifying the role of fluency-based instruction (and specifically Morningside Model of Generative Instruction) for use with children with LKS.

The current study used a changing criterion design to measure rates of responding in identified basic and combined psychomotor skills. A pre-existing data set was utilized to examine the effects of fluency-based instruction in basic psychomotor skill acquisition, maintenance, and generalization to an identified set of combined skills. Results indicated overall increases in basic psychomotor skill acquisition, and confirmation of fluency-based instruction as an efficacious, research based treatment for children.