TEACHING COMMUNICATIVE TURN TAKING USING THE IPAD© TO PROMOTE SOCIAL INTERACTION FOR PRESCHOOL CHILDREN WITH CCN AND THEIR PEERS

Open Access
Author:
Therrien, Michelle Christine
Graduate Program:
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
August 15, 2016
Committee Members:
  • Janice Catherine Light, Dissertation Advisor
  • Janice Catherine Light, Committee Chair
  • Krista M Wilkinson, Committee Member
  • Carol Anne Miller, Committee Member
  • David Brent Mcnaughton, Outside Member
Keywords:
  • social interaction
  • peer interaction
  • augmentative and alternative communication
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • mobile technology
  • intervention
Abstract:
Positive interactions with peers impact future success in many domains, including language development and relationship development. Children with complex communication needs (CCN), especially those with characteristics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), confront many barriers to successful interactions with peers. These include personal barriers, those specifically related to the individual child, and environmental barriers, or barriers related to the people and objects in the child’s environment. Proximity to children without disabilities alone seems to have little effect on peer interaction, which leaves children with CCN at risk for social isolation. Intervention is needed to support children with CCN who have characteristics of ASD to participate in peer interaction. In this study, a multiple probe across dyads research design was used to evaluate the effects of a peer interaction intervention on the frequency of symbolic communicative turns taken by children with CCN and characteristics of ASD in interactions with peers. Percentage of total turns and joint engagement were also investigated to assess the quality of the interaction. The multicomponent intervention included: (a) provision of a communication app on an iPad as augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and (b) dyadic turn-taking training. Four of the five participants with CCN met the criteria for completing training within 9 training sessions and increased communicative turn taking with peers in sessions without adult support. The fifth participant showed increased turn taking during training sessions, but this did not result in turn increases during independent sessions with peers. The results from this study provide support for the use of AAC as an environmental support combined with dyadic turn-taking training to promote peer interaction for children with CCN and characteristics of ASD. Results, social validity, clinical implications, and future research directions are discussed.