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Linguistic competence and AAC: A mentoring program to provide increased number of functional communication opportunities.

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Aim
To develop a mentoring program for individuals who communicate using AAC that will address issues of dealing with life transition and linguistic competence through mentor training and functional communication opportunities.
Method
Mentors and protégés will be paired and connected through an online forum. They will interact via the form regularly over the course of the program.
A single subject multiple probe research design will be used. After a set amount of time in baseline, the mentors will undergo training in sociorelational and collaborative problem solving skills. These skills will be taught through an on-line course and monitored by Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs). We predict that this training will increase the number of open-ended questions asked by the mentors. Open-ended questions promote language expansion and in turn will increase the linguistic competence of the protégés.
Linguistic competence of the protégés and the use of open-ended questions by the mentors will be tracked throughout the study. Linguistic competence will be measured using ratios of Number of Total Words (NTW), Number of Different Words (NDW), and Mean Length of Utterance (MLU).
Result
Participants have been recruited and results will be forthcoming.
Conclusion
Finding functional contexts to work on language skills with adolescents who are learning to use AAC can be a challenge for SLPs. An online mentoring program could be a functional and meaningful context for individuals who use AAC to increase their linguistic competence.

Author(s):

Jenelle MacDonald    
University of Alberta
Canada

Kim Adams    
University of Alberta
Canada

Karen Pollock    
University of Alberta
Canada

 

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