A single-subject, multiple-probe experimental design was used to investigate the effect of instruction on the acquisition, generalization, and long-term maintenance of partner-focused questions (i.e., questions about communication partners and their experiences) by individuals who use augmentative and alternative communication [AAC). Six participants who had severe speech impairments and used AAC participated in the study; they ranged in age from 10 to 44 years, had a variety of disabilities, and used a range of AAC systems. Instruction used a least- to-most prompting hierarchy in real-world interactions and during simulations. All of the participants successfully learned to ask partner-focused questions spontaneously in social interactions; they required an average of approximately 6 hours of instruction (range: 3-11 hours). The participants generalized the use of partner- focused questions to new situations in the natural environment and maintained use of partner-focused questions at least 2 months postinstruction; one participant required some 'booster' instructional sessions 4 weeks postinstruction to maintain her long-term use of partner- focused questions. The participants a reported high levels of satisfaction with the outcomes of the instructional program, as did their facilitators. Members of the general public, blind to the goals of the study, judged the majority of the participants to be more competent communicators after instruction.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language
- Speech and Hearing