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Role Playing and AAC: A Therapeutic Approach to Improve Spontaneous Conversational Exchanges in Natural Contexts

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Individuals with complex communication needs who utilize Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems encounter barriers that impact effective communication across situational contexts. Limited “natural” practice opportunities, reduced rate of communication, and the “wait time” required by the communication partner are examples of these barriers. The current study conducted a case study which investigated a role playing treatment approach that focused on specific AAC language modeling (i.e.: verbal & visual “scripts”) for communicating in natural “everyday” scenarios. The goal was to determine whether role play practice for AAC users in both clinical and natural settings impacted generalization of skills during spontaneous conversation in the context of a real situational exchange. First, the participant completed role play training in 1:1 clinical sessions; then practiced the role play training in the natural context. Lastly, the approach was tested by video recording the individual during 2 separate spontaneous, unassisted conversations in the natural environment. Analysis of data is still on going and results will be discussed in terms of rate and accuracy of communicative exchanges in both the clinical and natural settings. Implications on traditional AAC therapy will be discussed.

Author(s):

Laura Smith    
University at Buffalo
United States

Carly Vandegriff    
University at Buffalo
United States

Jeffery Higginbotham    
University at Buffalo
United States

Matthew Ballow    
(Consumer)
United States

 

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