Incorporating a Peer-Mediated Approach Into Speech-Generating Device Intervention: Effects on Communication of Preschoolers With Autism Spectrum Disorder Purpose This study examined the effects of incorporating a peer-mediated approach into a speech-generating device (SGD) intervention on communication of 45 nonverbal and minimally verbal preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and 95 peers without disabilities. The SGD was an iPad 2 (Apple) with voice output app. Method ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 08, 2018
Incorporating a Peer-Mediated Approach Into Speech-Generating Device Intervention: Effects on Communication of Preschoolers With Autism Spectrum Disorder
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kathy Thiemann-Bourque
    The University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Sarah Feldmiller
    The University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Lesa Hoffman
    The University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • Stacy Johner
    The University of Kansas, Lawrence
  • 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 Thiemann-Bourque: thiemann@ku.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond
    Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond×
  • Editor: Margaret Kjelgaard
    Editor: Margaret Kjelgaard×
Article Information
Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 08, 2018
Incorporating a Peer-Mediated Approach Into Speech-Generating Device Intervention: Effects on Communication of Preschoolers With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2018, Vol. 61, 2045-2061. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-17-0424
History: Received November 13, 2017 , Revised January 10, 2018 , Accepted April 10, 2018
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2018, Vol. 61, 2045-2061. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-17-0424
History: Received November 13, 2017; Revised January 10, 2018; Accepted April 10, 2018

Purpose This study examined the effects of incorporating a peer-mediated approach into a speech-generating device (SGD) intervention on communication of 45 nonverbal and minimally verbal preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and 95 peers without disabilities. The SGD was an iPad 2 (Apple) with voice output app.

Method Effects were evaluated using a multivariate randomized control trial design with repeated measures for 4 cohorts across baseline, intervention, generalization, and maintenance phases. Children were randomly assigned to an experimental treatment that trained peers on use of the SGD or a business-as-usual comparison condition with untrained peers. Communication outcomes were measured for both children with ASD and peers.

Results Children receiving the treatment demonstrated significant increases in rates of communication and more balanced responses and initiations (a measure of reciprocity) than children in the comparison group. They were able to generalize improvements and maintain communication gains. Treatment fidelity was high for school staff and peer implementation.

Conclusions Results support positive effects on communication of teaching young children with ASD and peers without disabilities to use the same SGD system in typical preschool activities. SGD interventions that utilize peer-mediated approaches may improve core deficits in communication and reciprocity and allow for greater classroom social participation and interactions with peers.

Acknowledgments
The research was funded by a grant awarded to Thiemann-Bourque through the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders 1R01DC012530. We gratefully acknowledge all of the participants, their families, and the school staff who provided support and were instrumental in helping to make the project a success. In addition, we would like to recognize all of the RAs for their diligent coding efforts and observations during the study. Finally, we would like to thank Charles Greenwood for sharing his knowledge, his exceptional editing skills, and mentoring in the writing process to complete this article.
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