Teaching Educational Assistants to Facilitate the Multisymbol Message Productions of Young Students Who Require Augmentative and Alternative Communication PurposeMany classroom educational assistants (EAs) have a significant amount of responsibility in carrying out educational plans for children who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), but they receive little instruction on how to do so (Kent-Walsh & Light, 2003). This study investigates the impact of using a communication partner instructional ... Research
Research  |   May 2010
Teaching Educational Assistants to Facilitate the Multisymbol Message Productions of Young Students Who Require Augmentative and Alternative Communication
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Cathy Binger
    University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
  • Jennifer Kent-Walsh
    University of Central Florida, Orlando
  • Cai Ewing
    University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
  • Stacy Taylor
    University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
  • Contact author: Cathy Binger, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, 1700 Lomas NE, MSC01 1195, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131. E-mail: cbinger@unm.edu.
  • © 2010 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / School-Based Settings
Research   |   May 2010
Teaching Educational Assistants to Facilitate the Multisymbol Message Productions of Young Students Who Require Augmentative and Alternative Communication
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2010, Vol. 19, 108-120. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2009/09-0015)
History: Received March 1, 2009 , Accepted September 7, 2009
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2010, Vol. 19, 108-120. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2009/09-0015)
History: Received March 1, 2009; Accepted September 7, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 17
Acknowledgments
This research was supported in part by an internal grant from the University of New Mexico. Preliminary results were presented at the Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Miami, FL, in November 2006. The authors would like to thank Jacqueline Berens, Sandy Nettleton, and Annette O’Connor for their assistance with the project. The authors also thank the educational assistants, families, and children who made this study possible.

PurposeMany classroom educational assistants (EAs) have a significant amount of responsibility in carrying out educational plans for children who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), but they receive little instruction on how to do so (Kent-Walsh & Light, 2003). This study investigates the impact of using a communication partner instructional program to teach EAs how to teach their students to produce symbol combinations on their speech-generating devices.

MethodA single-subject multiple-probe-across-participants design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the instructional program on (a) the EAs' implementation of an interaction strategy with their students who used AAC and (b) the rates of multisymbol message productions for the students who used AAC.

ResultsAll 3 participating EAs learned to use the interaction strategy appropriately, and all 3 participating students who used AAC increased their multisymbol message production rates.

ConclusionsResults provide further evidence (a) of the viability of using a communication partner instructional program for teaching partners how to facilitate the communication skills of children who use AAC and (b) that the interaction strategy can be an effective tool for increasing expressive multisymbol message rates for children who use AAC.

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