Promoting Peer Interaction for Preschool Children With Complex Communication Needs and Autism Spectrum Disorder Purpose This study investigates the impact of a multicomponent intervention on the social communication and engagement of preschool children with complex communication needs (CCN) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and peers without disabilities. Method Five dyads of children participated in this research. A multiple probe design across dyads ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 06, 2018
Promoting Peer Interaction for Preschool Children With Complex Communication Needs and Autism Spectrum Disorder
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Michelle C. S. Therrien
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, The Pennsylvania State University, State College
    School of Communication Science & Disorders, Florida State University, Tallahassee
  • Janice C. Light
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, 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 Michelle C. S. Therrien, who is now at the School of Communication Science & Disorders, Florida State University, Tallahassee: mtherrien@fsu.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor-in-Chief: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Editor: Margaret Kjelgaard
    Editor: Margaret Kjelgaard×
Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / School-Based Settings / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 06, 2018
Promoting Peer Interaction for Preschool Children With Complex Communication Needs and Autism Spectrum Disorder
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, February 2018, Vol. 27, 207-221. doi:10.1044/2017_AJSLP-17-0104
History: Received July 13, 2017 , Revised September 4, 2017 , Accepted October 3, 2017
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, February 2018, Vol. 27, 207-221. doi:10.1044/2017_AJSLP-17-0104
History: Received July 13, 2017; Revised September 4, 2017; Accepted October 3, 2017

Purpose This study investigates the impact of a multicomponent intervention on the social communication and engagement of preschool children with complex communication needs (CCN) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and peers without disabilities.

Method Five dyads of children participated in this research. A multiple probe design across dyads was used to evaluate the effects of intervention on the frequency of communicative turns expressed by children with CCN and ASD in interactions with peers. Frequency of peer turns, percentage of turns taken by peers, and joint engagement were investigated to assess the quality of the interaction. The intervention included (a) provision of a communication app on an Apple iPad Air 2 and (b) dyadic turn-taking training.

Results Four of the 5 participants with CCN completed training and increased independent communicative turn-taking with peers. The 5th participant showed increased turn-taking during training but little change in independent turn-taking. All peers took more turns in intervention than in baseline, with no negative impact on the turn balance between participants. Average joint engagement increased for all dyads, although session-to-session variability was high.

Conclusion The results from this study provide support for the use of this intervention to promote peer interaction for children with CCN and ASD.

Supplemental Material https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.5829678

Acknowledgments
This research is based on a dissertation completed by the first author, under the direction of the second author, in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of doctor of philosophy in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Pennsylvania State University. This project was supported by funding from the 2015 American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation's Graduate Student Research Grant in Early Childhood Language Development (awarded to Michelle Therrien) and by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education (awarded to Janice Light).
The project also received funding support from the Penn State AAC Leadership Project, a doctoral training grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education Grant H325D110008 and from the Hintz Family Endowed Chair in Children's Communicative Competence, which supports the AAC Doctoral Program at Penn State University.
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