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Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2010 May;19(2):108-20. doi: 10.1044/1058-0360(2009/09-0015). Epub 2009 Nov 30.

Teaching educational assistants to facilitate the multisymbol message productions of young students who require augmentative and alternative communication.

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Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.



Many classroom educational assistants (EAs) have a significant amount of responsibility in carrying out educational plans for children who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), but they receive little instruction on how to do so (Kent-Walsh & Light, 2003). This study investigates the impact of using a communication partner instructional program to teach EAs how to teach their students to produce symbol combinations on their speech-generating devices.


A single-subject multiple-probe-across-participants design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the instructional program on (a) the EAs' implementation of an interaction strategy with their students who used AAC and (b) the rates of multisymbol message productions for the students who used AAC.


All 3 participating EAs learned to use the interaction strategy appropriately, and all 3 participating students who used AAC increased their multisymbol message production rates.


Results provide further evidence (a) of the viability of using a communication partner instructional program for teaching partners how to facilitate the communication skills of children who use AAC and (b) that the interaction strategy can be an effective tool for increasing expressive multisymbol message rates for children who use AAC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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