Effects of a Parent Instructional Program on the Communicative Turns of African American Children who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication during Book Reading Activities


The ability to communicate is essential for the development of children's literacy skills, and raises a significant issue for children having complex communication needs who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems (e.g., communication boards, computerized voice-output systems) in order to substitute or supplement their natural speech. Current research indicates that early literacy experiences, such as interactive storybook reading with literate adults, are critical to children's development of functional language and literacy skills. However, research contends that children with complex communication needs are not naturally provided with supportive storybook reading experiences by their parents. In particular, one group of children who have been identified in the literature as being vulnerable to poor literacy outcomes is children of African American descent. To address this issue, the effects of an evidence-based instructional program on the communicative patterns of African American children using AAC during interactive book-reading activities were investigated. The study involved two parent-child dyads from African American backgrounds. The parents were taught to implement an interaction strategy that involved the use of (a) expectant delay, (b) modeling of AAC system use, (c) open-ended question asking, and (d) increased responsivity to the children's communicative attempts. Results demonstrated that the parents in both dyads reached criterion for implementation of the targeted interaction strategy, and they evidenced generalized and long-term use of this strategy. In addition, the children demonstrated increases in communicative turns taken and novel semantic concepts expressed. Clinical implications and directions for future research are discussed.


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Thesis Completion





Kent-Walsh, Jennifer E.


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Health and Public Affairs

Degree Program

Communicative Disorders


Dissertations, Academic -- Health and Public Affairs;Health and Public Affairs -- Dissertations, Academic; African American children -- Books and reading; People with disabilities -- Means of communication







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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