The emergence of a partner-focused question in aided interaction. A case study of participation in conversation

Maja Sigurd Pilesjö, Niklas Norén

    Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


    To ask a question can be highly challenging for a person with severe communication impairment, but questions have not received much attention in research in the field of atypical interaction and Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). In the current paper, the principles and practices of Conversation Analysis (CA) are utilized to examine an instance of interaction during which a speech and language therapist demonstrates how to ask a question using a communication board together with a child with severe physical and speech impairment and a moderate intellectual disability. The analysis shows that the demonstration of the question is accomplished through a segmentation of the question into a trajectory of interactional steps. Each step is built using ways of involvement that establish different participation frameworks designed to deal with the different aspects of asking a question. Initially, the participation status of speakership and recipiency are agreed upon, within a framework involving the girl and the therapist, but also a third silent party. Then the content and communicative function of the question is collaboratively constructed within a framework that involves the girl and the therapist more exclusively. Finally the question is posed, now within a framework that involves the third party as well as the question recipient. During the process, the therapist employs different methods to construct the active participation of the girl, providing her with opportunities to contribute to the different aspects of asking the question vocally, bodily as well as using the communication board. The study contributes to the research field of Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC), but also increases knowledge to the broader field of research on participation and communication impairment. Clinical implications are discussed.

    This paper is part of the panel on Participating with limited communication means.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2016
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    EventAtypical Interaction Conference - University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
    Duration: 3. Jul 20165. Jul 2016
    Conference number: 3


    ConferenceAtypical Interaction Conference
    LocationUniversity of Southern Denmark


    • Augmentative and alternative communication, aided interaction, participation, conversation analysis, severe speech and physical impairment, moderate intellectual disability
    • everyday interaction


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