Responsiveness of Male Adolescents With Mental Retardation to Input From Nondisabled Peers: The Summoning Power of Comments, Questions, and Directive Prompts The expressive communication of individuals with cognitive impairments may be directly influenced by a partner’s input, because such individuals often have limited conversational skills. Sequential analyses of dyadic interactions examined the effects of input by 32 normally developing adolescents on responses by male subjects with mental retardation whose communication modes ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 1995
Responsiveness of Male Adolescents With Mental Retardation to Input From Nondisabled Peers: The Summoning Power of Comments, Questions, and Directive Prompts
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Krista M. Wilkinson
    E. K. Shriver Center, Waltham, MA
  • Mary Ann Romski
    Georgia State University, Atlanta
  • Contact author: Krista Wilkinson, PhD, Behavioral Sciences Division, E. K. Shriver Center, 200 Trapelo Road, Waltham, MA 02254. E-mail: kwilkinson@shriver.org
Article Information
Development / Augmentative & Alternative Communication / School-Based Settings / Normal Language Processing / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 1995
Responsiveness of Male Adolescents With Mental Retardation to Input From Nondisabled Peers: The Summoning Power of Comments, Questions, and Directive Prompts
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1995, Vol. 38, 1045-1053. doi:10.1044/jshr.3805.1045
History: Received September 15, 1994 , Accepted March 2, 1995
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1995, Vol. 38, 1045-1053. doi:10.1044/jshr.3805.1045
History: Received September 15, 1994; Accepted March 2, 1995

The expressive communication of individuals with cognitive impairments may be directly influenced by a partner’s input, because such individuals often have limited conversational skills. Sequential analyses of dyadic interactions examined the effects of input by 32 normally developing adolescents on responses by male subjects with mental retardation whose communication modes included augmented communication. Results suggested that (a) verbal prompts in the form of questions were significantly more likely to receive responses from subjects with mental retardation than directive prompts, (b) comments were significantly more likely to receive responses from subjects with retardation than were directive prompts, when the nondisabled peer was male, and (c) male subjects with mental retardation were more likely to respond to input from male peers than from females. These data suggest that questions facilitate naturally occurring conversations but underscore the importance of evaluating gender-related effects on interaction involving persons with severe cognitive and communication impairments.

Acknowledgments
This research is based upon a dissertation submitted by the first author, under the direction of the second author, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the PhD in Psychology at Georgia State University. Parts of this paper were presented at the 118th Annual Meeting of the American Association on Mental Retardation. Funding for the research was provided by a Dissertation Research Grant from Georgia State University and NIH Grant HD-06016 that supports the Language Research Center. Manuscript preparation was supported by NICHD grant HD 25995 and by a contract from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (100220023SC). The authors gratefully acknowledge the students, teachers, and principals of the Clayton County, Georgia, school system for their enthusiastic participation in this project. We also thank Holly Middleton, Kim Deffebach, Wendy Wood, and Mark Sciegaj for their assistance in data preparation.
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