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The relationship between concepts and visual-spatial perception in children using aided communication

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Aim: To explore the relationship between verbal and visual-spatial skills.

Method: The study is part of the project “Becoming an aided communicator: Aided language skills in children aged 5-15 years”. Forty-eight aided communicators and 45 naturally speaking children described a model to a naturally speaking partner who should construct a similar figure. The content, details and preciseness of the child’s utterances, degree of correctness and type of errors in the model constructed by the partner were coded and compared to results on tests of cognition, visual-spatial perception and verbal comprehension.

Results: The aided communicators used significantly fewer attributes to describe an object than the naturally speaking communicators. In the aided group, there was a negative relationship between amount of information relayed and numbers of errors in the final construction. There was no clear relationship between type of information given and type of errors. More constructions were correct in the comparison group than in the aided group (M=93.2 vs 55.0%). In the aided, but not the comparison, group, non-verbal reasoning and verbal comprehension correlated negatively with number of errors in the final constructions.

Conclusion: There was a relationship between language comprehension and performance in the aided group that was not observed in the naturally speaking group. This should be taken into account when planning AAC and academic interventions.


Stephen von Tetzchner    
University of Oslo

Kristine Stadskleiv    
Oslo University Hospital

Beata Batorowicz    
CanChild Center for Childhood Disability Research

Munique Massaro    
Department of Special Education, Faculty of Philosophy and Science, Universidade Estadual Paulista

Carmen Basil    
Universitat de Barcelona

Annika Dahlgren Sandberg    
Gotheburg University, Department of Psychology

Débora Deliberato    
Department of Special Education, Faculty of Philosophy and Science, Universidade Estadual Paulista

Margareta Jennische    
Uppsala University, Departmen of Neuroscience

Gregor Renner    
Catholic University of Applied Sciences

Hans van Balkom    
Radboud University


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