Using AAC VSDs to increase participation and communication for adolescents with CCN (Babb et al., 2020)

Babb, S., McNaughton, D., Light, J., Caron, J., Wydner, K., & Jung, S. (2020). Using AAC video visual scene displays to increase participation and communication within a volunteer activity for adolescents with complex communication needs. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/07434618.2020.1737966


Abstract: Volunteer activities can provide opportunities to learn new skills, build social networks, and contribute to enhanced self-esteem. Volunteering also provides a positive contribution to society, and an opportunity to participate in activities that may differ from those in paid employment. People with severe disabilities and complex communication needs, however, may face significant barriers in participating and communicating in volunteer activities. A multiple-probe-across-participants, single-case experimental design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of videos with integrated visual scene displays (video VSDs). The video VSDs were presented using a tablet-based augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) app, as an intervention to increase the percent of steps completed independently within a volunteer activity. Participants were four adolescents with autism spectrum disorder or Down syndrome, all of whom had complex communication needs. Each participant met the mastery criterion for the activity – completion of the volunteer work activities and communication exchanges with co-volunteers – with the use of the video VSDs. The results provide preliminary evidence that video VSDs may be an effective assistive technology for individuals with severe disabilities and complex communication needs to increase participation in volunteer activities, both as an instructional support in learning new skills, and as an AAC technique to support interaction with others.

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