Developing the Alphabetic Principle to Aid Text-Based Augmentative and Alternative Communication Use by Adults With Low Speech Intelligibility and Intellectual Disabilities Purpose We explored alphabet supplementation as an augmentative and alternative communication strategy for adults with minimal literacy. Study 1's goal was to teach onset-letter selection with spoken words and assess generalization to untaught words, demonstrating the alphabetic principle. Study 2 incorporated alphabet supplementation within a naming task and then assessed ... Research Article
Research Article  |   May 17, 2017
Developing the Alphabetic Principle to Aid Text-Based Augmentative and Alternative Communication Use by Adults With Low Speech Intelligibility and Intellectual Disabilities
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Anna C. Schmidt-Naylor
    Life Span Institute, University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Kathryn J. Saunders
    Life Span Institute, University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Nancy C. Brady
    Life Span Institute, University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • 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 Kathryn Saunders: ksaunders@ku.edu
  • Editor: Joe Reichle
    Editor: Joe Reichle×
  • Associate Editor: Rose Sevcik
    Associate Editor: Rose Sevcik×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Research Articles
Research Article   |   May 17, 2017
Developing the Alphabetic Principle to Aid Text-Based Augmentative and Alternative Communication Use by Adults With Low Speech Intelligibility and Intellectual Disabilities
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2017, Vol. 26, 397-412. doi:10.1044/2016_AJSLP-15-0047
History: Received May 4, 2015 , Revised April 18, 2016 , Accepted November 2, 2016
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2017, Vol. 26, 397-412. doi:10.1044/2016_AJSLP-15-0047
History: Received May 4, 2015; Revised April 18, 2016; Accepted November 2, 2016

Purpose We explored alphabet supplementation as an augmentative and alternative communication strategy for adults with minimal literacy. Study 1's goal was to teach onset-letter selection with spoken words and assess generalization to untaught words, demonstrating the alphabetic principle. Study 2 incorporated alphabet supplementation within a naming task and then assessed effects on speech intelligibility.

Method Three men with intellectual disabilities (ID) and low speech intelligibility participated. Study 1 used a multiple-probe design, across three 20-word sets, to show that our computer-based training improved onset-letter selection. We also probed generalization to untrained words. Study 2 taught onset-letter selection for 30 new words chosen for functionality. Five listeners transcribed speech samples of the 30 words in 2 conditions: speech only and speech with alphabet supplementation.

Results Across studies 1 and 2, participants demonstrated onset-letter selection for at least 90 words. Study 1 showed evidence of the alphabetic principle for some but not all word sets. In study 2, participants readily used alphabet supplementation, enabling listeners to understand twice as many words.

Conclusions This is the first demonstration of alphabet supplementation in individuals with ID and minimal literacy. The large number of words learned holds promise both for improving communication and providing a foundation for improved literacy.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by National Institutes of Health Grant R01 HD048528 and Center Grants P30 HD002528 and P30 DC005803, awarded to the University of Kansas. The study was conducted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the first author's doctorate in the Department of Applied Behavioral Science, University of Kansas. Portions were presented at the Convention of the Association for Behavior Analysis, May 2010.
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