Authors: Grace E, Shipman J, Raghavendra P, McMillan JM
Title: “You got an instant conversation”: Goal progress and perceptions following an e-mentoring social media intervention for young people who use augmentative and alternative communication
Source: Journal of Communication Disorders 2023 103: Article ID: 106328
Year: 2023
Research Design: Single Case Design

INTRODUCTION: Persons with communication disability are at increased risk of social isolation due to multiple societal barriers. Young people with communication disability are not using social media to the same extent as the general population, limiting their access to social networks. The aim of this research was to investigate an e-mentoring intervention to progress the goal attainment of online conversation for young people who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). METHODS: Using a mixed-methods design, four participants between 13 and 18 years of age who used AAC participated in a 4-month cross-age peer e-mentoring intervention. Mentoring was provided by adults who were considered cross-age peers as they also used AAC. The Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM) and Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) tools were used to measure progress in individually developed goals for online conversation. Interviews with participants, their parents, and their mentors were conducted to describe their experiences of the intervention. RESULTS: Changes in participants' COPM ratings of performance and satisfaction with performance following intervention were statistically significant (p = 0.001, p = 0.032 respectively) and on average participant goals were attained at the expected level on the goal attainment scale (T = 63.97). However, goal attainment varied when considering specific goals. Variability in goal progress was described by participants alongside a range of barriers and facilitators. Mentees, their parents, and their mentors perceived that the intervention enabled goal progress and described improvements in social media use that extended beyond the targeted goals. CONCLUSIONS: Outcomes from the COPM and GAS demonstrate the value of cross-age peer e-mentoring to support young people who use AAC to participate in online conversation. Benefits of the intervention were commonly perceived by mentees, their parents, and mentors to extend beyond the specific goal attainments.

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