Communication Opportunities for Elementary School Students who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (short summary)
Children with complex communication needs (CCN) often continue to experience educational and social barriers even after they have received appropriate augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems.
It is known that in interactions involving people who use AAC the naturally speaking partner tends to be dominant and take the lead, usually by asking a lot of direct questions. Children who use AAC often have limited opportunities to initiate new topics of conversation instructions and the majority of interactions are with adults not peers.
This study aimed to look at the natural communication environments of children who use AAC. The authors aimed to describe naturally occurring communication opportunities offered to AAC users attending elementary schools in the USA.
The study had three areas of interest: to look at a sample of students who used AAC and attended a range of inclusive schools, to look at the consequences of AAC users communicative behaviours and to understand how communication partners could best respond to communication attempts and to look at the social participation of students who used AAC.
Overall the authors aimed to describe naturally occurring communication opportunities offered to AAC users attending elementary schools in the USA.
They found that 90% of communication events were opportunities to respond, only 10% were spontaneous initiations by the child. The vast majority of interactions were with adults not peers and took place in special needs classrooms.
The authors conclude that students who use AAC need support to become active communicators and that this is not always appropriately available and that children who use AAC need support to develop initiation skills and to ensure their devices are available to them at all times.
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Added to site January 17