Authors: Thomas-Stonell N, Robertson B, Oddson B, Rosenbaum P
Title: Communicative participation changes in pre-school children receiving augmentative and alternative communication intervention
Source: International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology 2016 18(1): 32-40
Year: 2016
Research Design: Case Series

Purpose: This paper reports changes in communicative participation skills - systematically measured and described - in an empirical observational case series of eight children receiving augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) interventions. Method: The eight children (seven boys, one girl), ranging from 1 year 4 months to 4 years 11 months (mean = 2.8 years; SD = 1.32 years) received varied AAC interventions (i.e. sign language, assistive technology, PECS), averaging 15 hours of treatment over a 12-month period. Parents completed an outcome measure (FOCUS) three times: at the start, mid-point (6 months) and end of the intervention period (after 12 months). They also completed the ASQ-SE at the start and end of intervention. Result: FOCUS scores increased over the treatment interval, indicating improvement in real-world communication skills as observed by their parents. The ASQ-SE items that pertained to communication also improved, while the items that did not correspond to communication did not. This divergence suggests that the communicative participation improvements resulted from treatment rather than general developmental gains. The largest improvements were noted in receptive language/listening, pragmatics and social/play skills. Improvements in intelligibility were also measured for several children. Conclusion: These results suggest that AAC intervention facilitated improvements in communicative participation skills in pre-school children.

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