Supporting Children’s Communication of Choices During Inpatient Rehabilitation: Effects of a Mobile Training for Health Care Providers

Jessica Gormley, David McNaughton, Janice Light

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: Children with complex medical and communication needs often experience extensive or frequent hospital stays and rely on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) strategies to communicate in this environment. Health care providers seldom receive training to effectively communicate with these children, which may lead to limited participation opportunities for the child during inpatient interactions. Method: A pretest–posttest experimental group design was completed to evaluate the effects of a brief mobile training designed to teach providers a procedure to support children with complex communication needs to communicate choices. Each provider participated in two pretest and two posttest interactions with children with complex communication needs during naturally occurring inpatient activities. Providers in the treatment group completed the video train-ing, whereas providers in the control group did not. Results: Following the training, (a) more providers offered choices to the children during hospital routines, (b) providers implemented the trained procedure with increased accuracy, and (c) the children with complex communication needs consistently communicated their choices when given the opportunity to do so. The providers rated the training as easy to use, effective, and suited to the needs of the inpatient setting. Conclusions: This is the first AAC training designed to promote child–provider interactions in inpatient settings that demonstrates results that are efficient, socially valid, and effective in a real-world context. Future work is needed to develop additional brief and focused AAC partner trainings to teach providers to support the participation of children with complex communication needs in health care interactions. Supplemental Material:

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)545-564
Number of pages20
JournalAmerican journal of speech-language pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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