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Effects of training paraprofessionals to use low-tech visual scene displays (VSDs)

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Background: Low-tech visual scene displays (VSDs) can be used by young children and older individuals with complex communication needs (CCN) who are beginning communicators. VSDs are a photograph or scene that is context based and portrays relationships within a natural environment. Paraprofessionals are essential communication partners who interact with individuals with CCN. However, paraprofessionals may not necessarily have received specific training on communication strategies that would facilitate communication with individuals who have CCN.
Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) training that included the use of low-tech VSDs for paraprofessionals working with individuals with CCN.
Method: This investigation implemented an interrupted time-series design with six paraprofessional-student dyads. Paraprofessionals were taught to provide evocative communication opportunities while using low-tech VSDs with individuals with CCN.
Results: Preliminary data analysis indicates that following the training all six special education teachers increased the number of evocative communication opportunities provided to students with CCN.
Conclusion: The results of this study provide preliminary evidence that low-tech VSDs could be a promising AAC solution that could be used with beginning communicators. In addition, this study adds to the limited research base on paraprofessional training.

Author(s):

Nimisha Muttiah    
The Pennsylvania State University
United States

Kathryn Drager    
The Pennsylvania State University
United States

Lindsay Hall    
Boston University
United States

 

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