Teaching Communicative Responses with a Speech-Generating Device Via Telehealth Coaching

Abstract

Caregivers need support with teaching augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). The purpose of this study was to coach caregivers via telehealth (i.e., live video conferencing with Google Hangout) to implement communication assessments, functional communication training (FCT), and/or navigation training to address either idiosyncratic or problem behavior exhibited by two young boys with developmental delay (age 5.5 years) and autism (age 7 years) who were non-verbal. An adapted multiple probe design and a multiple probe design across three contexts (play, break from demands, help) were used to evaluate acquisition of communicative requests using high tech aided AAC on a speech-generating device (SGD; a Tobii Dynavox T10 device). A forward chain was also introduced to teach symbol selection and navigation on the SGD. Both children acquired the communicative alternatives across each context. Caregiver implementation fidelity was measured with procedural checklists and was acceptable across baseline and intervention sessions for both children. Children with developmental disabilities face many barriers to accessing needed communication intervention and may not have access to interventionists with the expertise in AAC with a SGD. Our findings have potential research implications for the use of telehealth to improve access to expertise in high tech aided AAC communication assessment and intervention.

Publication
Advances in Neurodevelopmental Disorders