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Why Increased Sign and Symbol Use in Severe Learning and Language Disability Schools Promotes Language

Practice Report
  • Liz Beattie

The study compared communication between adults and students with severe learning and communication difficulties in two classroom situations: with and without the use of AAC. A qualitative paradigm was adopted and data collection was in the form of observation. Video taped evidence of classroom communication was transcribed and the data coded. Information on students' receptive and expressive language skills was obtained through formal assessment.

The observational data was analysed and revealed that interactions between adults and students are enhanced when multimodalities involving AAC are used. The results emphasise the importance of enhancing students' comprehension as a means of improving the quality of discourse. The study hypothesised a feasible link between the observed difference in communicative quality and recent insights into how the brain processes information and role of working memory.

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