Effects of a Speech Generating Device and Peer Training on the Directed Communication between Preschoolers with Down Syndrome and Their Peers
Wright, Courtney Anne
The effects of a multi-component intervention on the directed communication between preschoolers with Down syndrome and their peers were studied. The intervention included (a) one-on-one training with a therapist using Enhanced Milieu Teaching strategies to teach spoken language and language on an SGD, (b) peer training including a short workshop about recognizing communication from the target child with DS and rules for talking to friends, and (c) a facilitated session with the triad in which the therapist prompted interaction between the target child with DS and the peer. Three children with Down syndrome between the ages of 43 and 56 months participated in this multiple baseline across participants designed study. Communication was measured during a 10-min therapist session, 5-min triad session and 2- to 5-min generalization session. All target children demonstrated small increases in their communication with the therapist after the introduction of the intervention. Results within triad sessions indicated a functional relation between the introduction of the intervention and a change in the unprompted, directed communication between the target children with DS and peers. Both target children and peers demonstrated some changes in their unprompted, directed communication during generalization sessions, although the data vary among participants. Modest results and variability in the data are partially explained by study procedures and strict definitions of unprompted, directed communication. Implications for practice include recommendations for peer training, measuring communication, and teaching social communication.