Adult-Directed Communications of Youth With Mental Retardation Using the System for Augmenting Language This study characterizes the success and effectiveness of adult-directed communications of youth with mental retardation and little or no functional speech who used the System for Augmenting Language (SAL), in concert with vocalizations and gestures, to communicate over a 2-year period. Subjects were introduced to the SAL, a speech-output communication ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 1994
Adult-Directed Communications of Youth With Mental Retardation Using the System for Augmenting Language
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mary Ann Romski
    Georgia State University Atlanta, GA
  • Rose A. Sevcik
    Georgia State University Atlanta, GA
  • Byron Robinson
    Georgia State University Atlanta, GA
  • Roger Bakeman
    Georgia State University Atlanta, GA
  • Contact author: Mary Ann Romski, PhD, Department of Communication, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303.
Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / School-Based Settings / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 1994
Adult-Directed Communications of Youth With Mental Retardation Using the System for Augmenting Language
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1994, Vol. 37, 617-628. doi:10.1044/jshr.3703.617
History: Received March 9, 1993 , Accepted December 9, 1993
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1994, Vol. 37, 617-628. doi:10.1044/jshr.3703.617
History: Received March 9, 1993; Accepted December 9, 1993

This study characterizes the success and effectiveness of adult-directed communications of youth with mental retardation and little or no functional speech who used the System for Augmenting Language (SAL), in concert with vocalizations and gestures, to communicate over a 2-year period. Subjects were introduced to the SAL, a speech-output communication device used during daily interactions, to encourage attempts at communication either at home or school. All subjects used the SAL at home and at school during the second year. Results indicate that subjects used the SAL with their extant forms of communication, particularly vocalizations. Extant communications were more successful than SAL communications, although the environment influenced the success of all of the youth’s communications. The SAL, however, was more effective than vocalizations or gestures in conveying information and interacting with adults in both environments. Maintenance, generalization, and implications for practice are discussed.

Acknowledgments
The research described herein was funded by grant NICHD-06016, which sustains the Language Research Center of Georgia State University. Additional support is provided by the Department of Communication and the College of Arts and Sciences, Georgia State University. The authors gratefully acknowledge the youth who participated in this study, their families, and the Clayton County school personnel for their enthusiastic cooperation during the conduct of the longitudinal study. We also wish to thank Joselyn Cassidy, Rhonda McDaniel, Lynn Nicholaysen, Rebecca Reumann, Alice Taffar, and Krista Wilkinson who collected the data set; Mary W. Rambow for rating the speech samples; and David Washburn for writing the OBSERVE software program. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Biannual Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, April 1991.
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