A Synthesis of Relevant Literature on the Development of Emotional Competence: Implications for Design of Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems Purpose Emotional competence refers to the ability to identify, respond to, and manage one's own and others' emotions. Emotional competence is critical to many functional outcomes, including making and maintaining friends, academic success, and community integration. There appears to be a link between the development of language and the ... Viewpoint
Viewpoint  |   August 01, 2016
A Synthesis of Relevant Literature on the Development of Emotional Competence: Implications for Design of Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ji Young Na
    Communication Sciences and Disorders Program, The Kansas State University, Manhattan
  • Krista Wilkinson
    The Pennsylvania State University, State College
  • Meredith Karny
    The Pennsylvania State University, State College
  • Sarah Blackstone
    Augmentative Communication Inc. and AAC-RERC, Monterey, CA
  • Cynthia Stifter
    The Pennsylvania State University, State College
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Ji Young Na: jiyoungna2015@gmail.com
  • Editor: Joe Reichle
    Editor: Joe Reichle×
  • Associate Editor: Mary Ann Romski
    Associate Editor: Mary Ann Romski×
Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Viewpoint
Viewpoint   |   August 01, 2016
A Synthesis of Relevant Literature on the Development of Emotional Competence: Implications for Design of Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2016, Vol. 25, 441-452. doi:10.1044/2016_AJSLP-14-0124
History: Received August 28, 2014 , Revised March 24, 2015 , Accepted January 25, 2016
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2016, Vol. 25, 441-452. doi:10.1044/2016_AJSLP-14-0124
History: Received August 28, 2014; Revised March 24, 2015; Accepted January 25, 2016

Purpose Emotional competence refers to the ability to identify, respond to, and manage one's own and others' emotions. Emotional competence is critical to many functional outcomes, including making and maintaining friends, academic success, and community integration. There appears to be a link between the development of language and the development of emotional competence in children who use speech. Little information is available about these issues in children who rely on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). In this article, we consider how AAC systems can be designed to support communication about emotions and the development of emotional competence.

Method Because limited research exists on communication about emotions in a context of aided AAC, theory and research from other fields (e.g., psychology, linguistics, child development) is reviewed to identify key features of emotional competence and their possible implications for AAC design and intervention.

Results The reviewed literature indicated that the research and clinical attention to emotional competence in children with disabilities is encouraging. However, the ideas have not been considered specifically in the context of aided AAC. On the basis of the reviewed literature, we offer practical suggestions for system design and AAC use for communication about emotions with children who have significant disabilities. Three key elements of discussing emotions (i.e., emotion name, reason, and solution) are suggested for inclusion in order to provide these children with opportunities for a full range of discussion about emotions.

Conclusions We argue that supporting communication about emotions is as important for children who use AAC as it is for children who are learning speech. This article offers a means to integrate information from other fields for the purpose of enriching AAC supports.

Acknowledgments
This research project is funded in part by U.S. Department of Education Grant H325D110008. Parts of this project were presented at the 2012 and 2014 International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication Conferences and the 2013 Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The authors thank Dale Epstein, Gabriela Rangel, Jennifer J. Thistle, Jacob Feldman, and Pamela Cole for their suggestions and assistance throughout the development of this article as well as the P2C (Pathways to Competence), a research mentoring group run by the Child Study Center of the Pennsylvania State University.
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