It’s good to talk: developing the communication skills of an adult with an intellectual disability through augmentative and alternative communication.

(01 Jun 2012)

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems have been repeatedly identified as a means of improving an individual’s communication abilities and their ability to participate in interactions. However, existing literature indicates that dynamic display Speech Generating Devices (SGDs) are not commonly introduced for adults with moderate intellectual disabilities (ID). This case study reports the impact of using an SGD on the communication abilities of a non-verbal individual with a moderate ID. Clinical assessment and therapy outcome measures include semi-structured interviews with staff and communication dyad analyses. These measures were conducted before and after collaborative intervention from speech and language therapy and behaviour support. Findings from the study reveal that when using an SGD the individual experienced improvements in expressive communication abilities and pragmatic skills including topic maintenance, taking conversational turns and reduced communication breakdown. The clinical implications of this intervention are discussed.

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