The Additive Effects of Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems on Novel Word Learning
Fuller, Elizabeth Ashley
The purpose of this study was to understand the potential benefit of auditory and pictorial components of alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) systems in facilitating novel word learning for typically developing children. Thirteen typically developing children between the ages of 3 and 4 years (mean age 4.1 yrs) were taught novel words during a play-based exposure. A within-subject group design was implemented to compare children’s ability to learn novel words across four conditions: (1) spoken model only, (2) spoken model with AAC picture, (3) spoken model with AAC auditory output, and (4) spoken model with AAC picture and auditory output. There were no significant differences between conditions on expressive or receptive probes for word learning. Although on average children verbally used the novel words more frequently in conditions that had an AAC component compared to the condition without the AAC component, this difference was not significant. Future research should continue to explore the mechanism by which AAC devices assist children in word learning. Understanding how instruction incorporating AAC supports word learning may inform the design of effective interventions for children with significant language impairment.