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A Systematic Review of Aided Modeling for Children and Youth with Complex Communication Needs

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Although the traditional focus of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) has been as a mode of communication output, AAC may also have a significant role in enhancing communication input. Many interventions to promote language and communication for children and youth with complex communication needs (CCN) have either focused on or included aided modeling strategies. Aided modeling involves the communication partner using the AAC system in their interactions with the child. This strategy may offer many benefits: demonstrating that the AAC system is an encouraged mode of communication, providing opportunity for language mapping, promoting comprehension, and servings as a prompt to teach and elicit specific targets. We conducted as systematic review to identify and evaluate experimental studies involving aided modeling, including (a) studies isolating the effects of aided modeling and (b) studies evaluating package interventions involving aided modeling. We map the range of ways aided modeling strategies have been used and evaluated, as well as discuss the efficacy and validity of these approaches. We offer guidance for researcher and practitioners based on insights from our findings, including by providing special attention on how to effectively train and support natural communication partners to use aided modeling to support children with CCN.


Elizabeth Biggs    
Vanderbilt University
United States


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