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Teaching aided communication: self-report and intervention by SLPs

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Title:
Teaching aided communication: self-report and intervention by SLPs
Background
Children with severe motor disability and intellectual disability (e.g. children with cerebral palsy or Rett syndrome) typically have complex communication needs. These children can communicate by communication aids (e.g. communication boards and speech generating devices) provided that the communication partners use partner techniques. Speech and language pathologists (SLPs) have a central role in teaching aided communication.
Aim
The aim was: (1) to examine how SLPs instructed parents and school personnel in aided communication with individual with Retts syndrome and (2) to evaluate an intervention directed towards physiotherapists working with children with cerebral palsy
Method
(1): Informants were SLPs (n=77) working at Swedish habilitation centers with individual with Retts syndrome. Data was collected by a web-based questionnaire. Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics. (2): Data was collected by six physiotherapists at habilitation centers participating in a communication partner instruction program suggested by Kent-Walsh and McNaughton (2005).Interactions between the participants and children with CP were video recorded. Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics and conversational analysis.
Result
The main finding from the self-reported data showed that the communication partners to a large extent were given informally. The main finding of the intervention showed an increased use of partner technique which resulted in extended communication by the children.
Conclusion
SLPs report often teaching aided communication informally and orally. Physiotherapists’ use of partner techniques increased after participating in a course using the instructional approach of communication partner instruction program suggested by Kent-Walsh and McNaughton.

Author(s):

Helena Tegler    
Uppsala University, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Disability and Habilitation
Sweden

Helena Wandin    
Uppsala University, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Disability and Habilitation
Sweden

 

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