UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The establishment of a speech output communication system for a non-verbal child with severe behavioural and cognitive disabilities Hicks, Janet E.


This study investigates the ability of a seven year old non-verbal girl (Mary), who has multiple physical and cognitive disabilities, to learn to make requests using an electronic augmentative communication device (Apple IIGS computer with Unicorn Expanded Keyboard). This study will show how Mary learned to use symbols combined with speech output to request food in a natural setting, and in the absence of suggested communication intervention pre-requisites. Data were collected during forty-three sessions, each 15 minutes long. Verbal and physical prompts were used to teach Mary to touch a photograph symbol resulting in the activation of the synthesized speech. The number of both prompted and unprompted activations were recorded. Data were collected to determine if Mary generalized this skill to a play situation. The results indicate that Mary was able to learn to make food selections using the communication device. Her instances of unprompted selections increased over the duration of the study.

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