Predicting language outcomes for children learning AAC: Child and environmental factors
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To investigate a model of language development for nonverbal preschool age children learning to communicate with AAC.
Ninety-three preschool children with intellectual disabilities were assessed at Time 1, and 82 of these children were assessed one year later at Time 2. The outcome variable was the number of different words the children produced (with speech, sign or SGD). Children’s intrinsic predictor for language was modeled as a latent variable consisting of cognitive development, comprehension, play, and nonverbal communication complexity. Adult input at school and home, and amount of AAC instruction were proposed mediators of vocabulary acquisition.
A confirmatory factor analysis revealed that measures converged as a coherent construct and an SEM model indicated that the intrinsic child predictor construct predicted different words children produced. The amount of input received at home but not at school was a significant mediator.
Our hypothesized model accurately reflected a latent construct of Intrinsic Symbolic Factor (ISF). Children who evidenced higher initial levels of ISF and more adult input at home produced more words one year later. Findings support the need to assess multiple child variables, and suggest interventions directed to the indicators of ISF and input.
Brady, Nancy C. et al. “Predicting Language Outcomes for Children Learning AAC: Child and Environmental Factors.” Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR 56.5 (2013): 1595–1612.