Communication Profiles of Two Types of Gesture Using Nonverbal Persons With Severe to Profound Mental Retardation A structured communication sampling procedure was used to measure the form and function characteristics of intentional communication acts produced by nonverbal adults with severe mental retardation. Four “contact” subjects (who communicated only with contact gestures) and 4 “distal” subjects (who used distal as well as contact gestures) participated in this ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 1991
Communication Profiles of Two Types of Gesture Using Nonverbal Persons With Severe to Profound Mental Retardation
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • James E. McLean
    University of Kansas Bureau of Child Research
  • Lee K. S. McLean
    University of Kansas Bureau of Child Research
  • Nancy C. Brady
    University of Kansas Bureau of Child Research
  • Rhonda Etter
    University of Kansas Bureau of Child Research
  • Requests for reprints should be sent to James E. McLean, Bureau of Child Research, University of Kansas, P.O. Box 738, Parsons, KS 67357.
Article Information
Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 1991
Communication Profiles of Two Types of Gesture Using Nonverbal Persons With Severe to Profound Mental Retardation
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1991, Vol. 34, 294-308. doi:10.1044/jshr.3402.294
History: Received January 8, 1990 , Accepted May 22, 1990
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 1991, Vol. 34, 294-308. doi:10.1044/jshr.3402.294
History: Received January 8, 1990; Accepted May 22, 1990

A structured communication sampling procedure was used to measure the form and function characteristics of intentional communication acts produced by nonverbal adults with severe mental retardation. Four “contact” subjects (who communicated only with contact gestures) and 4 “distal” subjects (who used distal as well as contact gestures) participated in this study. All subjects produced communication acts that were coded as initiations, and all subjects produced protoimperative-type communication acts. However, contact subjects produced no protodeclarative-type communication acts, whereas all distal subjects produced some protodeclaratives. Distal subjects lso produced significantly more repair/recast acts than did contact subjects. Other findings included a tendency for distal subjects to communicate at a higher rate, to initiate more communication acts, and to produce more accompanying wordlike vocalizations than contact subjects. These results are discussed in light of Werner and Kaplan’s (1984) concept of distancing as central to symbolization. Implications for future research and for clinical practice are also discussed.

Acknowledgments
Preparation of this article was supported by NICHD Grant No. 1-P01HD18955 to the Bureau of Child Research, University of Kansas. Comments by Bonnie Brinton, Martin Fujiki, Kate Saunders, and Joseph Spradlin on an earlier version of this manuscript were greatly appreciated. The authors also wish to thank Kathy Morris for laboratory assistance and data compilation on this project.
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