Developmental Memory Capacity Resources of Typical Children Retrieving Picture Communication Symbols Using Direct Selection and Visual Linear Scanning With Fixed Communication Displays Purpose This study examined the cognitive demands of 2 selection techniques in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), direct selection, and visual linear scanning, by determining the memory retrieval abilities of typically developing children when presented with fixed communication displays. Method One hundred twenty typical children from kindergarten, 1st, ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2006
Developmental Memory Capacity Resources of Typical Children Retrieving Picture Communication Symbols Using Direct Selection and Visual Linear Scanning With Fixed Communication Displays
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Barry T. Wagner
    Ball State University, Muncie, IN
  • Heather M. Jackson
    Ball State University, Muncie, IN
  • Contact author: Barry T. Wagner, Ball State University Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, Muncie, Indiana 47306. Email: bwagner@bsu.edu
Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2006
Developmental Memory Capacity Resources of Typical Children Retrieving Picture Communication Symbols Using Direct Selection and Visual Linear Scanning With Fixed Communication Displays
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2006, Vol. 49, 113-126. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2006/009)
History: Received May 21, 2004 , Revised October 18, 2004 , Accepted May 26, 2005
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2006, Vol. 49, 113-126. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2006/009)
History: Received May 21, 2004; Revised October 18, 2004; Accepted May 26, 2005
Web of Science® Times Cited: 12

Purpose This study examined the cognitive demands of 2 selection techniques in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), direct selection, and visual linear scanning, by determining the memory retrieval abilities of typically developing children when presented with fixed communication displays.

Method One hundred twenty typical children from kindergarten, 1st, and 3rd grades were randomly assigned to either a direct selection or visual linear scanning group. Memory retrieval was assessed through word span using Picture Communication Symbols (PCSs1). Participants were presented various numbers and arrays of PCSs and asked to retrieve them by placing identical graphic symbols on fixed communication displays with grid layouts.

Results The results revealed that participants were able to retrieve more PCSs during direct selection than scanning. Additionally, 3rd-grade children retrieved more PCSs than kindergarten and 1st-grade children. An analysis on the type of errors during retrieval indicated that children were more successful at retrieving the correct PCSs than the designated location of those symbols on fixed communication displays.

Conclusions AAC practitioners should consider using direct selection over scanning whenever possible and account for anticipatory monitoring and pulses when scanning is used in the service delivery of children with little or no functional speech. Also, researchers should continue to investigate AAC selection techniques in relationship to working memory resources.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by the Center for Media Design, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana. The opinions presented in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the Center for Media Design. A special thank you goes to Wayne Mock, from Ball State University’s Telplex, who programmed the experimental tasks. Valarie Morris from Telplex was also instrumental in the management of the project. We also express gratitude to Lauren Shaffer, Carla Hess, James Jones, Ann Silcox, Kristen Callison, and Amie Thomas for their assistance in the project. Last, this project could not have been completed without the cooperation of the faculty, staff, parents, and children from Anderson Christian School, Daleville Elementary School, Horace Mann Elementary School, and Lancaster Elementary School, all located in northeast central Indiana.
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