Embedding Peer-Implemented Aided AAC Modeling within a Peer Network Intervention for Students with Complex Communication Needs
Biggs, Elizabeth Erin
Educators need strategies to build the communication skills of students learning to use aided augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), while also supporting their meaningful participation and interaction in inclusive settings. This study used a multiple-probe-across-participants design to evaluate the effectiveness of embedding peer-mediated aided AAC modeling within a peer network intervention to increase students’ interaction with peers and use of symbolic communication during non-instructional times at school (i.e., lunch, recess). Participants were four elementary school students who had an intellectual disability or autism and were learning to use a speech-generating device (SGD) or communication book. The peer network intervention increased students’ overall interactions with peers. With training and coaching, peers were successful in providing aided AAC models during the peer network meetings, which resulted in increased use of symbolic communication by three focus students. Implications are offered related to supporting peer interaction, improving students’ use of symbolic communication, and training peers to use aided AAC modeling strategies.