Predicting Language Outcomes for Children Learning Augmentative and Alternative Communication: Child and Environmental Factors PurposeTo investigate a model of language development for nonverbal preschool-age children learning to communicate with augmentative or alternative communication.MethodNinety-three preschool children with intellectual disabilities were assessed at Time 1, and 82 of these children were assessed 1 year later, at Time 2. The outcome variable was the number of different ... Article
Article  |   October 2013
Predicting Language Outcomes for Children Learning Augmentative and Alternative Communication: Child and Environmental Factors
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Nancy C. Brady
    University of Kansas
  • Kathy Thiemann-Bourque
    University of Kansas
  • Kandace Fleming
    University of Kansas
  • Kris Matthews
    University of Kansas
  • Correspondence to Nancy C. Brady: nbrady@ku.edu
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Katherine Hustad
    Associate Editor: Katherine Hustad×
  • © American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Development / Augmentative & Alternative Communication / School-Based Settings / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language
Article   |   October 2013
Predicting Language Outcomes for Children Learning Augmentative and Alternative Communication: Child and Environmental Factors
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2013, Vol. 56, 1595-1612. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/12-0102)
History: Received March 31, 2012 , Revised September 4, 2012 , Accepted January 11, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2013, Vol. 56, 1595-1612. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2013/12-0102)
History: Received March 31, 2012; Revised September 4, 2012; Accepted January 11, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 5

PurposeTo investigate a model of language development for nonverbal preschool-age children learning to communicate with augmentative or alternative communication.

MethodNinety-three preschool children with intellectual disabilities were assessed at Time 1, and 82 of these children were assessed 1 year later, at Time 2. The outcome variable was the number of different words the children produced (with speech, sign, or speech-generating devices). Children's intrinsic predictor for language was modeled as a latent variable consisting of cognitive development, comprehension, play, and nonverbal communication complexity. Adult input at school and home, and amount of augmentative or alternative communication instruction, were proposed mediators of vocabulary acquisition.

ResultsA confirmatory factor analysis revealed that measures converged as a coherent construct, and a structural equation model indicated that the intrinsic child predictor construct predicted different words children produced. The amount of input received at home, but not at school, was a significant mediator.

ConclusionsThe hypothesized model accurately reflects a latent construct of Intrinsic Symbolic Factor (ISF). Children who evidenced higher initial levels of ISF and more adult input at home produced more words 1 year later. The findings support the need to assess multiple child variables and suggest interventions directed to the indicators of ISF and input.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by Grants DC007684 and HD018955 from the National Institutes of Health. We thank the families and teachers who participated in this research and the research assistants who helped with data collection.
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