A comparative study of language use and its effect on communication interaction patterns in two groups of children with cerebral palsy (speaking and nonspeaking) from Hindu speaking families in Calcutta.
This study examines the effect of language use on the communication interaction
patterns of ten children with cerebral palsy from Hindi speaking families, five children
using AAC and five children using speech as their primary mode of communication.
Children in both groups were within a chronological age band of six to eleven years
with their receptive language levels ranging from three to four + word level.
The study was conducted over a nineteen month period. Data was collected at four
phases by video recording interactions between the children and their facilitators. Two
intervention strategies were applied. The first intervention was the reformatting of
individual display boards to include vocabulary that was within the receptive repertoire
of each AAC user. The second intervention was a facilitator workshop to suggest
strategies that speaking communication partners might use to support and/or augment
AAC users communicative and linguistic skills.
A three tier model of data analysis (Light, in press) was found to be an effective way of
examining the data. The diversity of data gave empirical evidence on the relationship
between use of language and communication competence, and the efficacy of the
interventions used. The results confirmed existing evidence in literature that social
intentions and the functional needs of speakers affect communicative functions. In
addition, data provided evidence that communicative context and communicative
partners have a direct impact on the communicative interaction patterns of AAC users.
Children in the study showed developmental trends that were similar to those of
typically developing children. This has important implications for language learning
theories in AAC and for classroom practice.
The major outcome of the study is the empirical evidence showing that communicative
competence in AAC users' is enhanced by access to opportunities for developing and
using linguistic skills. This research study has added to the existing knowledge base
on the communicative competence of children who use AAC by providing evidence
from a different cultural (Indian) and linguistic (Hindi) setting.