The communication partner´s modeling of communication aid‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ use in everyday contexts

Niklas Norén, Maja Sigurd Pilesjö

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    BackgroundThis session reports on a micro-analytic study of modeling in aided interaction and AAC instruction. Interactions are analysed where modeling is achieved in everyday contexts, during which ten children with severe speech and physical impairment (SSPI) interact with everyday communication partners.It is today widely acknowledged that children with communicative developmental disabilities need to be exposed to augmentative and alternative communication methods and practices in everyday interaction. There is growing evidence that aided language modeling intervention strategies by a communication partner promotes language and communication development for persons using AAC systems (Smith, 2015; Smith & Grove, 2003; e.g., Binger & Light, 2007; Beukelman & Mirenda, 2013, Romski & Sevcik, 2003; Drager et al, 2006; Jonsson et al., 2011). Various methods have been developed that all share modeling as the main strategy of intervention (e.g. Aided Language Stimulation, ALgS, Goosens, 1989; System for Augmenting Language, SAL, Romsky & Sevcik, 2003; and Language Modeling, ALM, Drager et al., 2006). The aim of these methods is to provide both speech and symbol input throughout the day in similar ways as when combining manual signs and speech (Beukelman & Mirenda, 2013). Most important, the use of modeling is meant to improve the person´s understanding of spoken language and the person´s own use of the communication aid (Romski & Sevcik, 2003). In addition, modeling is believed to influence the communication partner’s communication skills in a positive manner, for example, reducing the speech rate, emphasizing keywords, using pauses, and expanding the language produced by the child (Jonsson et al, 2011). The use of the communication aid by the facilitator also demonstrates for the person in need of support that it is an acceptable way of communication (Smith, 2015). In the field of AAC, modeling is described as occurring when a facilitator highlights symbols on the user´s communication display/board as s/he interacts and communicates verbally with the user (Goosens, 1989). In an example illustrated by Romski and Sevcik (2003), the facilitator can say Let´s go OUTSIDE and ride your BIKE while indicating ”outside” and ”bike” on a communication aid. Results from studies on modeling suggest that it is effective for increasing symbol comprehension by children with SSPI, as well as length and complexity in the utterances they produce (Binger & Light, 2007).However, the use of the concept of modeling and of the strategy of modeling can raise questions regarding what we actually mean by modeling in aided interaction. The type of utterance and the actual action that the turn accomplishes when combining speech with modeling on the communication aid, may have different local interactional consequences, for instance. Thus, there is a need to investigate more thoroughly what modeling is, and how it comes about in ordinary aided interaction.Traditionally, studies on modeling have been conducted within the behaviouristic perspective (Smith, 2015). Intervention programs have been conducted using experimental designs (e.g. Romski & Sevcik, 1993; Light & Drager, 2007; with the exception of Jonsson et al, 2011). The current study takes a social interactionist view, looking at meaning making as an interactive and dialogical process, where participants use linguistic and embodied resources in order to achieve joint action in situated activities (Norén et al, 2013). The focus is on the process of modeling in aided interaction and how modeling comes about in the local context. Today, there is sparse knowledge about and description of AAC modeling in the contexts in which AAC systems are being used (Drager et al., 2006; Jonsson et al., 2011). Modeling as a means of social action has not been analysed in depth and therefore, more research is asked for (Drager et al., 2006; Jonsson et al., 2011).The aim of this study is to investigate how communication partners use communication aids in everyday interaction, to describe the interactive processes involved in modeling. The following research questions are addressed: How is the modeling use of the communication aid organised in everyday interaction? Which linguistic and embodied resources are used? Are there different types of modeling? If so, what actions do they achieve and which interactional consequences do they have on the next actions and responses by the child with SSPI? Research method and analysisSeveral instances of interaction where different communication partners use the communication aid in everyday interaction with ten children with severe speech and physical impairment (SSPI) have been video-recorded. Detailed multi-modal transcriptions have been conducted and sequentially analysed according to the principles of Conversation Analysis (Sidnell, 2010).‪‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‪Findings‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬The analyses show that the organization of modeling of the communication aid may be done in several ways. Different communicative resources are used. Different modeling methods yield different affordances and therefore make different responses by the child with SSPI relevant as next action. For example, one of the modeling methods that is employed by the communication partner makes the use of the communication aid by the child with SSPI relevant‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ in the next turn.Conclusions‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‪Despite the frequent use of modeling in intervention and AAC instruction, the concept of and the concrete methods of modeling do not seem to be as clear as one might think. The analysed excerpts demonstrate that modeling can be done and organized in several ways, and thereby treated differently by the participants themselves. Different resources are employed, as for example, orientation to the sequential organization of the action in progress. The different manners with which a facilitator may use a communication aid projects different next actions and responses by the child with SSPI.‬ For example, one way of modeling contributes to design a specific sequential slot where the use of the communication aid is made relevant, and is oriented to as relevant. ‬‬Furthermore, the analyses clearly demonstrate that the communication aid is the aid of a shared communicative project.‬‬‬‬‬ Clinical reflections will be made.‬‬‬Declaration of Interest StatementThe authors disclose they have no financial or other interest in objects or entities mentioned in this paper.ReferencesBeukelman, D. & Mirenda, P. (2013). Augmentative and Alternative Communication: Supporting Children and Adults with Complex Communication Needs (4th ed.). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.Binger, C., & Light, J. (2007). The Effect of Aided AAC Modeling on the Expression of Multi-Symbol Messages by Preschoolers who Use AAC. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 23 (1), 30-43.Drager, K. D., Postal, V., Carrolus, L., Castellano, M., Gagliano, C., & Glynn, J. (2006). The effect of aided language modeling on symbol comprehension and production in two preschoolers with autism. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 15, 112–125.Goossens, C. (1989). Aided communication intervention before assessment: A case study of a child with cerebral palsy. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 5, 14–26.Jonsson, A., Kristoffersson, L, Ferm, U. & Thunberg, G. (2011). The ComAlong communication boards: parents' use and experiences of aided language stimulation. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 27(2), 103-116.Norén, N., Samuelsson, C. & Plejert, C. (2013). Aided Communication in Everyday Interaction. Surrey, UK: J&R Press Ltd.Romski, M. & Sevcik, R. (2003). Augmented Input. Enhancing Communication Development. In J. Light, Beukelman, D., Reichle, J. (Eds.), Communicative Competence for Individuals Who Use AAC (pp. 147-162). Baltimore, London: Paul H Brookes Publishing Co.Sidnell, J. (2010). Conversation Analysis: an introduction. West Sussex, United Kongdom: Wiley-Blackwell.Smith, M. & Grove, N. (2003). Assymmetry in Input and Output for Individuals Who use AAC. In J. Light, Beukelman, D., Reichle, J. (Eds.), Communicative Competence for Individuals Who Use AAC (pp. 163-195). Baltimore, London: Paul H Brookes Publishing Co.Smith, M. (2015). Language Development of Individuals Who Require Aided Communication: Reflections on State of the Science and Future Research Directions. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 31(3), 215–233.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date8. Aug 2016
    Publication statusPublished - 8. Aug 2016
    EventInternational Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Biennal Conference. Toronto, Aug. 8-11, 2016 - Toronto, Canada
    Duration: 8. Aug 201611. Aug 2016
    Conference number: 27


    ConferenceInternational Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Biennal Conference. Toronto, Aug. 8-11, 2016


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