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Comparative Effects of two AAC systems on vocal productions of children with Motor Speech Disorders

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Aim: The aim of this study was to analyse and compare the vocal productions of children with motor speech disorders (MSDs) when using a communication board versus a speech generating device (SGD) during intervention sessions aimed at eliciting graphic symbol combinations.

Method: Data was collected from four children with severe MSDs aged 6-11 years during story reading sessions using an adapted alternating treatment design with a baseline phase. Sessions were video-recorded and transcribed. The rates per minute of total vocal productions as well as subtypes were calculated per session, per phase, per condition and per participant. Results were graphed and analysed visually. The PND between phases was calculated. The Wilcoxon ranked pairs test was used to determine the difference in performance during the two intervention conditions.

Results: Results were mixed, with only one participant clearly increasing her rate of vocal productions when using a communication board. The vocal productions of three participants were significantly higher during the communication board intervention than when the SGD was used, with no difference for the fourth participant.

Conclusion: No clear immediate positive effects on rate of vocal productions was seen when either form of AAC was introduced. It may be that participants initially needed to reallocate cognitive resources to learn the use of AAC but that their rates of vocal productions increased as they became more proficient at doing so.


Kerstin Tönsing    
Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication
South Africa

Shakila Dada    
Centre for Augmentative and alternative Communication
South Africa

Kim-Caleigh Brewis    
Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication
South Africa


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