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How Cognition Impacts Navigational Skills of Young Children: Taxonomic Versus Schematic Organization

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This study examined young children’s navigational skills by comparing two organizational methods (taxonomic and schematic) based on their cognitive skills. The selection of the proper organization layout of a speech-generating device (SGD) for a child who has communication needs is important because it could impact their level of success while using the device. To our knowledge, no study has compared organizational methods in relation to cognition. Therefore, the goal of this study was to determine whether an SGD should be programmed using a taxonomic organization or a schematic organization based on the child’s cognitive skills.

A total of 209 children aged 4 to 6 participated in this study. The Leiter International Performance Scale, Third Edition (Leiter-3) was used to evaluate their cognitive abilities. The following six cognitive factors were analysed: categorization, working memory, sustained attention, divided attention, cognitive flexibility and fluid reasoning. The participants’ navigational skills were assessed using an iPad Air as an SGD that was programmed with the Proloquo2Go application that contained two organizational options (taxonomic and schematic). Half of the children were assessed using a taxonomic organization and the other half used a schematic organization. Results revealed important information regarding cognitive skills and their relationship with organizational methods used to program devices. Which cognitive skills are needed to predict navigational skills for each layout, will be discussed during the presentation. Finally, clinicians will learn why age is not the best predictor when selecting which organizational method to use for young children who need an SGD.


Mélanie Blais    
Laurentian University

Sarah Blakely    
Laurentian University

Shawna Sterner    
Laurentian Universtiy

Manon Robillard    
Laurentian University


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