Assessment of Phonemic Awareness and Word Reading Skills of People With Complex Communication Needs A series of phonemic awareness (PA) and single-word reading tasks, which did not require spoken responses, was developed for administration to people with complex communication needs. The aims of the study were to (a) determine the construct validity of the PA tasks and (b) investigate the relationship between PA and ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2004
Assessment of Phonemic Awareness and Word Reading Skills of People With Complex Communication Needs
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Teresa Iacono
    Centre for Developmental Disability Health, Monash University, Oakleigh, Victoria, Australia, and Communication Resource Centre, Scope (Vic), Melbourne, Australia
  • Linda Cupples
    Speech, Hearing and Language Research Centre, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: Teresa.Iacono@med.monash.edu.au
  • Contact author: Teresa Iacono, PhD, Centre for Developmental Disability Health Victoria, Suite 202, 3 Chester Street, Oakleigh, Victoria 3166, Australia. E-mail: Teresa.Iacono@med.monash.edu.au
Article Information
Development / Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Normal Language Processing / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2004
Assessment of Phonemic Awareness and Word Reading Skills of People With Complex Communication Needs
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2004, Vol. 47, 437-449. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/035)
History: Received February 20, 2003 , Accepted July 14, 2003
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2004, Vol. 47, 437-449. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/035)
History: Received February 20, 2003; Accepted July 14, 2003
Web of Science® Times Cited: 9

A series of phonemic awareness (PA) and single-word reading tasks, which did not require spoken responses, was developed for administration to people with complex communication needs. The aims of the study were to (a) determine the construct validity of the PA tasks and (b) investigate the relationship between PA and single-word reading in adults with complex communication needs. Forty adults with physical and/or intellectual disability were administered these tasks and a standardized measure of receptive spoken vocabulary. In assessing construct validity, data from all participants, including those who used speech, were included in a factor analysis, which indicated that the PA tasks loaded onto a single factor. This factor was interpreted to be PA. The relationship between PA and single-word reading in adults with complex communication needs was determined using correlational and multiple regression analyses of data from 34 of the original participants who did not have functional speech skills. These analyses indicated that receptive spoken vocabulary accounted for a significant amount of variance on most tasks. Additional significant variance in performance on the single-word reading tasks was accounted for by performance on the PA tasks, in particular, Nonword Blending and Phoneme Analysis. These results indicate that the tasks developed provide a valid means of assessing PA and single-word reading skills. In addition, the results indicate that adults with complex communication needs demonstrate the same positive association between PA and reading as has been found in other groups of individuals with and without disability.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported by the AccessAbility Scheme Grant, awarded by the Australian Commonwealth National Office for the Information Technology, 1999–2001. Portions of this article were presented in at the International Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication Biennial Conference, Washington, D.C., August 2000. We gratefully acknowledge the participation of adults with complex communication needs, the Spastic Centre of New South Wales, Scope (Vic), and our Research Assistants Marina Coorey, Jo Arciuli, and Rebecca Ward.
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