Training Peer Partners to Use a Speech-Generating Device With Classmates With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Exploring Communication Outcomes Across Preschool Contexts Purpose This study examined effects of a peer-mediated intervention that provided training on the use of a speech-generating device for preschoolers with severe autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and peer partners. Method Effects were examined using a multiple probe design across 3 children with ASD and limited to no ... Research Article
Research Article  |   September 18, 2017
Training Peer Partners to Use a Speech-Generating Device With Classmates With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Exploring Communication Outcomes Across Preschool Contexts
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kathy S. Thiemann-Bourque
    Juniper Gardens Children's Project, University of Kansas
  • Sara McGuff
    Liberty Public Schools Early Childhood Center, Kansas City, MO
  • Howard Goldstein
    University of South Florida, Tampa
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Kathy S. Thiemann-Bourque: thiemann@ku.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond
    Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond×
  • Editor: Margaret Kjelgaard
    Editor: Margaret Kjelgaard×
Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / School-Based Settings / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   September 18, 2017
Training Peer Partners to Use a Speech-Generating Device With Classmates With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Exploring Communication Outcomes Across Preschool Contexts
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 2017, Vol. 60, 2648-2662. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-17-0049
History: Received February 7, 2017 , Revised April 12, 2017 , Accepted June 6, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, September 2017, Vol. 60, 2648-2662. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-17-0049
History: Received February 7, 2017; Revised April 12, 2017; Accepted June 6, 2017

Purpose This study examined effects of a peer-mediated intervention that provided training on the use of a speech-generating device for preschoolers with severe autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and peer partners.

Method Effects were examined using a multiple probe design across 3 children with ASD and limited to no verbal skills. Three peers without disabilities were taught to Stay, Play, and Talk using a GoTalk 4+ (Attainment Company) and were then paired up with a classmate with ASD in classroom social activities. Measures included rates of communication acts, communication mode and function, reciprocity, and engagement with peers.

Results Following peer training, intervention effects were replicated across 3 peers, who all demonstrated an increased level and upward trend in communication acts to their classmates with ASD. Outcomes also revealed moderate intervention effects and increased levels of peer-directed communication for 3 children with ASD in classroom centers. Additional analyses revealed higher rates of communication in the added context of preferred toys and snack. The children with ASD also demonstrated improved communication reciprocity and peer engagement.

Conclusions Results provide preliminary evidence on the benefits of combining peer-mediated and speech-generating device interventions to improve children's communication. Furthermore, it appears that preferred contexts are likely to facilitate greater communication and social engagement with peers.

Acknowledgments
The research was funded by a grant awarded to K. S. Thiemann-Bourque through the Friends of the Life Span Institute at the University of Kansas and partially supported by Grant 1R01DC012530 awarded to Dr. Kathy S. Thiemann-Bourque through National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. We gratefully acknowledge the classroom teacher Debbie Wulf-Walter for her cooperation and efforts in helping make the project a success and the participating families for their time and support.
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