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


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.

At the end of a year-long intervention, during which both static and dynamic screen SGDs were introduced and staff working with the woman were trained to support their use, the authors found positive outcomes.

Staff working with the subject reported improvements in her verbal expression and a reduction in 'barriers to communication' thus increasing her independence. They also felt that there were changes in her social interaction, including ability to repair conversation breakdowns. No change was seen in her understanding of spoken language.

Analysis of videoed interactions showed an increase in the number of turns the subject took in conversations. Her ability to maintain topics and introduce new topics also improved when the SGD was used. The rate of communication breakdown was reduced and less clarification was requested by communication partners.

Things you may want to look into:

Survey of AAC Needs for Adults with Intellectual Disability in New Zealand

The Speech Generating Device (SGD) Mentoring Program: Supporting the Development of People Learning to Use an SGD

Added to site Dec 2015