Key Word Signing Usage of Adults With Intellectual Disabilities: Influence of Communication Partners' Sign Usage and Responsivity Purpose In services for adults with intellectual disabilities, various staff members may have different key word signing (KWS) skills and conversational style. Little is known about how these clients use KWS with different staff members. Therefore, we observed staff–client conversations and examined how clients' KWS usage was shaped by staff ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 15, 2017
Key Word Signing Usage of Adults With Intellectual Disabilities: Influence of Communication Partners' Sign Usage and Responsivity
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ellen Rombouts
    KU Leuven, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neurosciences, Research Group Experimental Oto-Rhino-Laryngology (ExpORL), Belgium
  • Bea Maes
    KU Leuven, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Parenting and Special Education Research Group, Belgium
  • Inge Zink
    KU Leuven, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neurosciences, Research Group Experimental Oto-Rhino-Laryngology (ExpORL), Belgium
    KU Leuven, Department of ENT, Head & Neck Surgery, University Hospitals Leuven, Campus St.-Rafaël, Multi-University Center for Speech Therapy and Audiology (MUCLA), Belgium
  • 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 Ellen Rombouts: Ellen.Rombouts@kuleuven.be
  • Editor: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Associate Editor: Kathryn Drager
    Associate Editor: Kathryn Drager×
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 15, 2017
Key Word Signing Usage of Adults With Intellectual Disabilities: Influence of Communication Partners' Sign Usage and Responsivity
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2017, Vol. 26, 853-864. doi:10.1044/2017_AJSLP-16-0051
History: Received April 10, 2016 , Revised August 2, 2016 , Accepted February 18, 2017
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2017, Vol. 26, 853-864. doi:10.1044/2017_AJSLP-16-0051
History: Received April 10, 2016; Revised August 2, 2016; Accepted February 18, 2017

Purpose In services for adults with intellectual disabilities, various staff members may have different key word signing (KWS) skills and conversational style. Little is known about how these clients use KWS with different staff members. Therefore, we observed staff–client conversations and examined how clients' KWS usage was shaped by staff members' KWS usage and conversational style.

Method Three 10-min dyadic conversations between an adult with moderate or severe intellectual disabilities (N = 15) and three familiar staff members were filmed and transcribed. The KWS usage and conversational responsivity in the transcriptions was analyzed at group (using generalized estimating equations), subgroup, and individual levels.

Results Clients appeared to produce significantly more KWS as partners imitated more signs and as partners were more responsive. There was a negative interaction between these two factors. Subgroup analyses showed that spontaneity of clients' KWS usage was a continuum.

Conclusion Findings suggest that staff can encourage clients' KWS usage by imitating manual signs but that clients' response efficiency should also be taken into account.

Acknowledgments
The authors are grateful to the Foundation Marguerite-Marie Delacroix for their financial support, awarded to Ellen Rombouts. This study has been conducted as part of the first author's PhD project, which focuses on the influence of support staff characteristics on clients' KWS usage. We would like to thank the clients and professionals for their enthusiastic participation. There was no conflict of interest, and no restrictions were imposed on the publication of results or on data access. Results were presented at the IASSIDD Congress: Rombouts, Maes, and Zink (2016b) .
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