MSC01 1195
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Partner Instruction in AAC

Providing communication supports for children who use non-traditional forms of communication can be challenging. That's why we've devoted much of our time to developing methods to efficiently and effective teach those who work and live with children who use AAC how to enhance communication for these children.

Communication Partners

To date, Jennifer and Cathy have completed research studies that have involved the following communication partners:

  • Parents/ caregivers (African American, Anglo/White, and Latino)
  • Educational assistants
  • Teachers
  • Peers

Communication partner instruction has been completed in both individualized and group settings, and the findings to date have been extremely positive. Partners have demonstrated marked improvements in the use of techniques that enhance both the quality and amount of the children's communicative output. Partners have used the following techniques to enhance children's communication:

  • Ample opportunities and expectations to communicate
  • Adequate time to communicate
  • Models of what to say on the child's communication device
  • Higher content WH questions such as Who, What, and Where, instead of yes/no questions

Children who use AAC

The children involved in these studies have possessed a wide range of disabilities including:

  • Autism
  • Childhood apraxia of speech
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Corneila de Lange syndrome
  • Down syndrome
  • Developmental delays
  • Intellectual impairments
  • Prader Willi syndrome
  • Profound phonological disorders
  • Velo-cardio-facial (DiGeorge) syndrome.

The children in these studies demonstrated improvements with a variety of communication skills, including:

  • Turn-taking
  • Vocabulary size and diversity
  • Message length and complexity
  • Grammar skills

Past Projects

Our work to date has mainly resulted in the publication of numerous research articles and professional presentations as well as professional newsletter articles. A list of these materials, as well as links to relevant articles and presentations, is located on the publications page of this site.

Present and Future Projects

Currently, plans are underway to create materials that clinicians can readily use to instruct communication partners. Keep updated on our endeavors by: