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Supporting literacy and AAC: A case study of an individual with cortical visual impairment

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The current case study evaluates the effectiveness of an intervention including adapted braille literacy instruction for supporting communication and literacy for an individual with cortical visual impairment (CVI) who also had complex communication needs (CCN). A case study approach was employed, utilizing a single-subject across behaviors design to establish experimental control. Adapted braille instruction was introduced with the long-term goal of orthographic communication. In the interim, non-orthographic AAC options were initiated to support communication despite limited literacy exposure and knowledge. Results from the current case study provide initial evidence that literacy intervention using adapted braille can be effective in teaching letter-sound correspondence to individuals with CVI and CCN. Results also suggest that literacy learning can be a time extensive process for some individuals with complex needs. Other supports can effectively enhance communication for individuals with CVI and CCN in the interim. Adapted instruction can successfully support literacy learning for individuals with CVI and CCN– an important skill for individuals who use AAC because of the potential for generative communication. Literacy learning can be time-intensive for some individuals, but is worth the time commitment because of the potential positive impact literacy learning may have on the communication and broader participation of individuals who use AAC. However, when the process is very long, teaching literacy is not enough. It is important to provide interim supports to provide access to communication before literacy skills have been developed to be functional for communication.


Christine Holyfield    
Pennsylvania State University
United States

Kathryn Drager    
Pennsylvania State University
United States

Jessica Caron    
Pennsylvania State University
United States


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