A dialogic reading intervention incorporating AAC modelling and increased communication partner responsiveness during shared storybook reading with children with complex physical, cognitive, and sensory needs who use partner assisted scanning : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Speech and Language Therapy at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand
Children with complex physical, cognitive and sensory needs (CPCSN) who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) may use partner assisted scanning (PAS) as their access method. This access method is not well understood and rarely features in existing literature. Children with CPCSN also seldom appear in the literature on aided language. Children who use AAC require significant intervention to build their receptive and expressive language skills and develop communicative competence.
This research examined an evidence based dialogic shared reading strategy which incorporated aided language modelling and increased communication partner responsiveness with two children with CPCSN who use PAS to access a Pragmatic Organised Dynamic Display (PODD; Porter, 2012) communication book. The dialogic reading strategy prompted the communication partner to comment on the story, invite a communication turn, and respond contingently to the child. Aided language modelling and increased responsiveness are widely recognised as strategies which support language development in children who use AAC.
Data were collected via communication frequency measures, field notes, and observations throughout the intervention process and an interview with the children’s teacher was conducted after the intervention was complete. The quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics and graphs, while the qualitative data were analysed using a general inductive approach. In an effort to integrate all of the data sources, the quantitative communication frequency measures were treated as deductive codes and embedded within the qualitative analysis.
Two major themes emerged from the data. One theme described the practical challenges associated with the health and physical needs of the children that required consideration when providing intervention, as well as the changes to the clinical protocol that became necessary in response. In addition, the second theme outlined the effects of the intervention on the children’s communication skills. This included positive outcomes in skill areas such as turn taking, efficiency and conveying meaning. Recommendations for further research and clinical practice as a result of the research are presented.