SCIP is based on over two decades of clinical research by a number of researchers who have examined models of contrastive phonological intervention, including Minimal Pairs, Multiple Oppositions, and the complexity approaches of Maximal Oppositions and Treatment of the Empty Set. All contrastive approaches are based on the construct of minimal pairs, which are word pairs that differ by a single sound and result in different meanings. For example, the words “pat” and “bat” make a minimal pair that differs by only one sound, and that difference in sounds makes a difference in meaning. There are four contrastive phonological approaches that are based on this construct of minimal pairs. Therefore, each contrastive approach uses minimal pairs, but it is the type of opposition that differs across each approach.

The oldest and most common approach is Minimal Pairs (Weiner, 1981; Baker, 2010). Extensions of this approach include Maximal Oppositions (Gierut, 1989, 1990, 2005), Multiple Oppositions (Williams, 2000, 2006), and Treatment of the Empty Set (Gierut, 1990, 1992, 2007). The literature supports the use of contrastive sound pairs to remediate phonological impairments by contrasting the child’s error pattern with a target sound, concluding that contrastive approaches are more efficient and effective than traditional articulation approaches (Gierut, 1998; Williams, 2006). Hodson (1992) reported that less than 10% of SLPs use phonological principles in the management of phonological disorders in children. Several reasons likely account for this low percentage, including the amount of training time required for SLPs to learn the newer models of phonological intervention and to implement them effectively into their clinical practices. That is why SCIP provides practitioners with this clinical intervention guide, as well as quick and easy access to a video tutorial for self-paced instruction in the contrastive intervention models.

Evidence supports the efficacy of the four contrastive models of phonological intervention. In an early study, Weiner (1981) reported that Minimal Pairs were efficient and effective in eliminating or reducing error patterns in children who displayed multiple phonological errors. More recently, Gierut (2007) reported that the Maximal Oppositions and Treatment of the Empty Set approaches resulted in greater phonological change than was obtained with the Minimal Pairs approach. Finally, Williams and Kalbfleisch (2001) reported that the Multiple Oppositions approach resulted in statistically significant, system-wide changes following a maximum of 42 total treatment sessions (p < .005) with children who exhibited moderate to profound phonological impairments. As Gierut (1998) summarized the phonological intervention literature, there is ample evidence to support the use of phonological models over traditional models of intervention.