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learning disability

developmental-learning disability is difficulty understanding new or complex information and affecting communication

Professionals’ and parents’ shared learning in blended learning networks related to communication and augmentative and alternative communication for people with severe disabilities (short summary)

Professionals’
 
and
parents’
shared
learning

Researchers looked into the use of Blended Learning Networks, on-line groups consisting of parents and professionals, as a way to share learning and experience about the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) with people with severe disabilities who have complex communication needs (CCN).

The groups considered a number of topics related to AAC and evaluated their experiences of the BLNs at the end of the study period.

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Evaluation of language and communication skills in adult key word signing users with intellectual disability: Advantages of a narrative task (short summary)

Advantages
of
a
narrative
task

Narrative skills are those skills needed to tell stories or recount things that have happened. The ability to use narrative depends on a wide range of language, communication and cognitive skills. The use of narrative can be a way of gathering information about language content and form in a short period of time but in the main this type of task has not been used with adults with intellectual disability (ID), particularly those who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).

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It’s good to talk: developing the communication skills of an adult with an intellectual disability through augmentative and alternative communication (summary)

 
It’s
good
 
to
talk

Background

People who have intellectual disabilities (ID) often have associated difficulties with communication which effect all aspects of their lives. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems have been identified by researchers as a way of improving communicative abilities and participation in interactions. There is a recognised link between communication difficulties and challenging behaviour, limited communication skills might lead to people using behaviour as a means of communicating their needs, wishes and feelings.

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It’s good to talk: developing the communication skills of an adult with an intellectual disability through augmentative and alternative communication (short summary)

 
It’s
good
 
to
talk

A single case study is presented, looking at effects the introduction of a dynamic display speech generating device (SGD) had on the communication and pragmatic skills of a 40 year old woman who was non-verbal and had moderate intellectual disabilities (ID). The subject also had some challenging behaviours related to her wish to be able to communicate more effectively with a wide range of people.

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Comparison of Communication using an iPad and a Picture Based System (short summary)

Comparison
of
Communication
using
iPad
 
and
Symbols

The communication behaviours of five pupils with ASD and/or learning disabilities were compared using either a picture symbol communication system or the 'Pick a Word' app on the iPad.

The authors found that use of the iPad did not detract from the pupil's communication; the number of communication behaviours either increased or stayed the same.

They also suggest that though iPads are now readily available they are not necessarily better than other speech generating devices and more research is needed into comparing the systems.

Comparison of Communication using an iPad and a Picture Based System (summary)

Comparison
of
Communication
Using
iPad
 
and
Symbols

Background AAC interventions have been shown to improve social and communication skills in young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (autism) and other developmental disabilities. Systems which include visual symbols might appeal to the visual strengths of some people with autism and systems such as the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) have been found to be effective for many people in this group.

AAC and social interaction (short summary)

AAC
 
and
social
interaction

This study compared the use of a picture exchange system and a speech-generating device for a fifteen-year-old boy with autism and Down syndrome. The authors were interested in finding out whether teaching an AAC system could improve social interaction. Trevor, the boy in this study, successfully learned how to use both types of AAC systems to request his favourite snacks in response to prompts from a communication partner. Trevor did not clearly prefer one type of AAC over the other, and he remained socially withdrawn during these interactions.

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AAC and social interaction (summary)

AAC
 
and
social
interaction

Background Many children with developmental disabilities who use AAC have deficits in social skills, or the ability to comfortably interact with others. While previous research in the field of paediatric AAC has shown that children often prefer one type of AAC over another, little research has been done on the potential effect of AAC interventions on social interactions of children with developmental disabilities.

What was the aim of the study? This study investigated the effects of AAC interventions of the social interactions of one child.

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Post-school quality of life (short summary)

This paper reports the results of surveys and interviews about the experiences of young people with complex communication needs after they leave school. The eight young people in this study all used an AAC device whilst in school, however, only one continued to do so after leaving school. Overall, the young people were found to be out of employment or education, to lack personal resources and to require better access to communication support services.

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