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Two Girls Who Use Communication Aids Interact with Peers and Adults: A story of discernment

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Aim: To describe the process by which two children who use AAC and have motor impairments interacted with different communication partners within a goal-oriented activity.
Method: Participants were two girls with sever motor impairments (12 and 14 years-old) who used communication aids. They were to direct peers and adults to perform certain, predetermined, actions within an activity setting. The interactions were videotaped with two cameras. A descriptive microanalysis of six interactions involving a four-pass transcription process was performed to identify multimodal resources that were used within each dyad, their sequential arrangement, and meaningfulness within the interaction.
Results: Participants used the multiple semiotic resources, including a combination of verbal communication and extra-linguistic movements and behaviours to accomplish their interactions. Preliminary findings indicate that both girls had successful interactions, but the sequential processes varied as they chose to use different strategies with different partners. To represent the key features and depict the sequential relationships between the talk and non-verbal actions, both text transcriptions and graphic materials will be discussed.
Conclusions: This study presents how two children accomplished in-the-moment goal-oriented interaction. Findings support previous case studies that reported the multimodal and contextual nature of interactions. Future research could explore specific contextual factors that might play a role in choosing different approaches by children. Such knowledge might help to design best interventions for children using AAC and their interaction partners.


Beata Batorowicz    

Fiona Campbell    
McMaster Children's Hospital

Kristine Stadskleiv    
University of Oslo

Stephen von Tetzchner    
University of Oslo


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