Speaker Transfer in Children’s Peer Conversation (short summary)


Two eleven year old boys, one a VOCA user, one without communication difficulties, were videoed having a non-directed conversation. Their conversation was analysed with particular focus on turn-taking within the interaction and how the end of VOCA users turns was indicated and understood.

They found that, in general the boys managed the transfer of conversational turns quite well. The use of questions and some conversational prompts by the non-VOCA user provided some expectations about what the VOCA user might do next and the use of non-verbal behaviours such as eye gaze help to indicate when VOCA utterances are complete.

The authors also considered the speaking child's interaction with the VOCA and the way in which it can fulfil additional social functions including being part of a 'guess ahead' game during an interaction, so that the VOCA user can either confirm or reject the others attempts to guess what he is going to say. They suggest that in peer to peer interaction the use of communication aids is collaborative in nature and not simply related to the giving and receiving of information.

Added to site February 2014