ERIC Number: EJ694811
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jun
Reference Count: 44
Parents' Perspectives on the Communication Skills of Their Children with Severe Disabilities
Stephenson, Jennifer; Dowrick, Margaret
Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, v30 n2 p75-85 Jun 2005
Background: The development of communication skills in children with severe disabilities partly depends on the responsivity of partners to all forms of communicative behaviour. This study explored the behaviours that parents interpret as communicative. Method: Parents of 10 children aged 4 to 9 years were interviewed about the forms of communication used by their children. All the children had severe intellectual disability and were unable to use spoken language as their primary means of communication. Results: Parents described a wide range of behaviours, including the use of facial expressions, body movements, vocalisations, gestures, word approximations and words, formal and made-up signs, and object and picture symbols, as communicative behaviours. Conclusions: Parents interpreted many of these behaviours, including challenging behaviours, as communicative, but may need support to encourage presymbolic communicative behaviours. Where formal alternative and augmentative communication had been introduced by schools, parents were not always supportive of its use at home.
Descriptors: Interpersonal Communication, Communication Skills, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Nonverbal Communication, Parent Attitudes, Severe Mental Retardation, Foreign Countries, Children
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia