Children Who Use Communication Aids Instructing Peer and Adult Partners During Play-Based Activity (short summary)


This study investigates the way in which children with severe motor impairments who use AAC are able to use language to give instructions to familiar communication partners in barrier activities involving construction play. It investigates their use of referential communication i.e. their ability to name or describe items so that the listener can identify them. The tasks used in the study included dressing a doll, making a bead necklace, building a tower of blocks and making a pattern of dominoes.

They found that in general the task was completed more slowly and more misunderstandings occurred between children who use AAC and their communication partners than was the case for a typically developing comparison group. However most of the communication aid users were able to complete the tasks successfully and misunderstandings could be corrected.

It was found that the older children and those with higher levels of communication functioning and non-verbal reasoning were more successful in solving the tasks.

The authors conclude that children with motor impairments can successfully instruct others to carry out tasks and in doing so alter the balance of a communication partnership and that children who use communication aids can direct the actions of others in construction play, though not always as successfully as typically developing peers. They suggest that interventions focussing on offering opportunities for autonomous communication in structured activities might promote the development of aided language and autonomy in children with severe physical impairments and little or no speech.


Things you may want to look into:

Systematic Review of the Effects of Interventions to Promote Peer Interactions for Children who use Aided AAC

Differences in maternal responsive and directive behavior during free play with and without aided AAC

Participation and Enjoyment in Play with a Robot between Children with Cerebral Palsy who use AAC and their Peers

 Added to site August 2016