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Language use during mathematics activities: differences between directing and doing activities using a robot

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This study examined language used by two participants with physical limitations who completed mathematics activities with a typically developing peer without (baseline) and with (intervention) a Lego robot. The researchers aimed to determine whether the participants would produce less ‘task completion’ language (i.e., asking for help) with the robot due to more independent completion of the task. The intent was to inform the vocabulary that would be needed to support students using an AAC system to complete math tasks. Proportion of ‘task completion’ language did not decrease significantly during the intervention condition for either participant. Participant 1 manipulated objects with his hands to complete measurement activities. His requests for help were mainly to be handed items beyond his reach. Participant 2 had severe physical impairments affecting all four limbs. Her ‘task completion’ language changed during the intervention condition to include more specific directions for math measurement. Proportion of ‘task completion’ language was higher for Participant 2 than for Participant 1 in both conditions. Participant 2 also demonstrated difficulties with the understanding and use of math related functional vocabulary. Both participants had strong language and social skills which may have helped in compensating for motor limitations. The researchers concluded that although the use of “helping” vocabulary did not decrease in the intervention condition, the study served to provide direction for further research. Some possible areas to investigate include: specific vocabulary used during similar activities, understanding of mathematics concepts vocabulary, and review of “helping” vocabulary needed for students using AAC devices.

Author(s):

Kim Adams    
University of Alberta/Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital
Canada

Danielle Commandeur    
University of Alberta/Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital
Canada

Bonnie-Lynn David    
I CAN Centre for Assistive Technology, Glenrose Hospital , Alberta Health Services
Canada

Corinne Tuck    
: I CAN Centre for Assistive Technology, Glenrose Hospital , Alberta Health Services
Canada

Katelyn Loshny    
University of Alberta
Canada

 

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