Augmentative and Alternative Communication & Down Syndrome Abstracts

Down Syndrome Research and Practice 5 (1): 16-25 (1998)

Using augmentative communication with infants and young children with Down syndrome

Foreman P., Crews G.
This paper reports the use of two forms of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) with young children with Down syndrome: a program using signing (Makaton), and the COMPIC system of computerised pictographs. Children with Down syndrome are frequently reported to have difficulties in the area of language and communication, with relative strengths in visual and perceptual areas. This suggests possible benefits from the use of AAC systems to enhance language development. The paper discusses the use of AAC systems to assist young children with Down syndrome, and reports an experimental study of the use of such systems with an object naming task.
Dissertation 66p. (1998)

Expressive language gains exhibited by a three-year-old child with Down Syndrome upon introduction of augmentative communication: A case study

Kraft, Amy Lynn
Truman State University
Research in augmentative communication indicates that combined instruction in speech, sign language, and assistive devices has resulted in increased communicative competence among children with cognitive impairments. An experiment was performed to determine whether the introduction of a multimodal communication system would be accompanied by an increase in the expressive communication of a three-year-old child with Down Syndrome. The subject was presented with the names of nine target objects in each of three modalities: speech, sign, and pointing to icons on a communication board. Electronic voice output produced by the Say It Simply augmentative communication device was later added as a component of the pointing modality to ascertain whether an electronic communication aid would increase the subject's spoken, signed, or pointed responses. Results revealed that spontaneous pointing behaviors increased when synthesized speech output was introduced, while spoken approximations and signs remained relatively constant throughout the treatment.
Journal of Special Education Technology 12 (3): 257-75 (1994 Spring)

Access and meaning: The keys to effective computer use by children with langauge disabilities

Laura F. Meyers
University of California, Los Angeles
Computers can empower children with disabilities to participate in the normal processes of spoken and written language learning. To accomplish this, teachers must put access to computer-based speech output and text under the control of children with disabilities. Then, teachers must support children's construction of internal grammars by providing the language structure needed to link the computer-based speech and text with the children's personal meaning systems. A research project with children with Down syndrome is reported, supporting the contention that combining access to speech and text through technology with teaching methods that provide the language structure to link the speech output and text with personal meaning results in significantly improved language use compared with implementation of identical teaching methods with pencil and paper. Implications about the requirements for effective computer-based language interventions and about the role of teachers are discussed.