Initiation and Repair of Intentional Communication Acts by Adults With Severe to Profound Cognitive Disabilities This study assessed the communication initiation and repair behaviors of 28 individuals with severe to profound mental retardation in a variety of experimental conditions. All of these individuals communicated through nonsymbolic gestures. The experimental procedures were devised to simulate the conditions that typically evoke two different types of initiations: comments ... Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 1995
Initiation and Repair of Intentional Communication Acts by Adults With Severe to Profound Cognitive Disabilities
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Nancy C. Brady
    Parsons Research Center, University of Kansas Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies, Parsons
  • James E. McLean
    Parsons Research Center, University of Kansas Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies, Parsons
  • Lee K. McLean
    Parsons Research Center, University of Kansas Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies, Parsons
  • Susan Johnston
    University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Contact author: Nancy C. Brady, PhD, University of Kansas, Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies, Parsons Research Center, P.O. Box 738, Parsons, KS 67357.
    Contact author: Nancy C. Brady, PhD, University of Kansas, Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies, Parsons Research Center, P.O. Box 738, Parsons, KS 67357.×
Article Information
Special Populations / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 1995
Initiation and Repair of Intentional Communication Acts by Adults With Severe to Profound Cognitive Disabilities
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1995, Vol. 38, 1334-1348. doi:10.1044/jshr.3806.1334
History: Received April 22, 1994 , Accepted April 13, 1995
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1995, Vol. 38, 1334-1348. doi:10.1044/jshr.3806.1334
History: Received April 22, 1994; Accepted April 13, 1995

This study assessed the communication initiation and repair behaviors of 28 individuals with severe to profound mental retardation in a variety of experimental conditions. All of these individuals communicated through nonsymbolic gestures. The experimental procedures were devised to simulate the conditions that typically evoke two different types of initiations: comments and requests. Each subject initiation was followed by an experimenter response that indicated a communication breakdown to determine if and how these subjects would attempt to repair such breakdowns. Different indicators of communication breakdown were systematically varied in these scripted interactions, including explicit requests for repair (verbal and gestural) and implicit requests for repair (failure to respond or inappropriate response to the subject’s communication act). All subjects initiated at least one communication act, and all but three subjects repaired at least one communication act following a breakdown. Significantly more subjects initiated protoimperative than protodeclarative communication acts, despite equal opportunities for both types of acts. Across all conditions, additions were observed to occur significantly less often than recasts or repetitions. There were no significant differences in the number of subjects repairing communication following the different types of communication breakdown.

Acknowledgments
Preparation of this article was supported by NICHD Grant No. P01 HD18955 to the Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies, University of Kansas. The authors wish to thank Joe Spradlin, Kate Saunders, Malcolm McNeil, and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. We also appreciate the efforts of Kathy Morris and Pat White, who helped prepare this manuscript.
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