The Performance of Typically Developing 2½-Year-Olds on Dynamic Display AAC Technologies With Different System Layouts and Language Organizations The current generation of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) technologies is largely based on conceptual models of adults who are not disabled (J. Light & P. Lindsay, 1991). As a result, there is a large "cost of learning" placed on young children. This paper presents the results of a study ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2003
The Performance of Typically Developing 2½-Year-Olds on Dynamic Display AAC Technologies With Different System Layouts and Language Organizations
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kathryn D. R. Drager, PhD
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • Janice C. Light
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • JoHannah Curran Speltz
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • Karen A. Fallon
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • Lauren Z. Jeffries
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • Contact author: Kathryn D. R. Drager, PhD, Pennsylvania State University, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, 110 Moore Building, University Park, PA 16802. E-mail: kdd5@psu.edu
Article Information
Development / Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2003
The Performance of Typically Developing 2½-Year-Olds on Dynamic Display AAC Technologies With Different System Layouts and Language Organizations
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2003, Vol. 46, 298-312. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/024)
History: Received May 5, 2002 , Accepted October 8, 2002
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2003, Vol. 46, 298-312. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2003/024)
History: Received May 5, 2002; Accepted October 8, 2002
Web of Science® Times Cited: 49

The current generation of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) technologies is largely based on conceptual models of adults who are not disabled (J. Light & P. Lindsay, 1991). As a result, there is a large "cost of learning" placed on young children. This paper presents the results of a study designed to investigate the learning demands of dynamic display systems that differed in system layout and language organization for children approximately 2 1/2 years old (2 years 5 months to 2 years 11 months). Thirty typically developing children were asked to locate 12 vocabulary items within a play context of a birthday party. Ten children were randomly assigned to each of 3 system approaches: vocabulary in a grid format organized taxonomically, vocabulary in a grid format organized schematically, and vocabulary in an integrated scene organized schematically. The children participated in 4 learning and testing sessions and 1 generalization session. Results indicated that the children performed poorly in all conditions but were able to locate more vocabulary items in the schematic scene condition than the taxonomic grid or schematic grid conditions. There was evidence that the children failed to generalize their knowledge of the vocabulary to facilitate learning of novel vocabulary items. The current design of AAC dynamic display systems appears to be inappropriate for very young children. Rather than relying solely on technology for these young children, early intervention should target multiple modes of communication. AAC technologies should be redesigned to reduce learning demands. Results are discussed with implications for practice and suggestions for future research.

Acknowledgments
This research was done as part of the Communication Enhancement Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (AAC-RERC), which is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research of the U.S. Department of Education under grant number H133E980026. The opinions contained in this publication are those of the grantee and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Education. Additional information on the AAC-RERC is available at http://www.aac-rerc.org/.
This article is based in part on a presentation at the Ninth International Conference of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Washington, DC, August 2000.
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