Communication & Medicine, Vol 7, No 2 (2010)

The Role of Active Participation in Interaction for Children Who Use Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Annette Sophie Sundqvist, Charlotta Plejert, Jerker Rönnberg
Issued Date: 1 Apr 2011


The present study investigates active participation of three children with complex communication needs who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Active participation in social interaction is an important factor for children’s cognitive development and the advancement of linguistic and social skills. The aim of the study was to identify components in interaction in everyday school settings that manifested themselves as active participation for the children. Three different settings were analyzed for each child: interaction with a peer, a lecture situation with an adult, and a formalized role-play situation. The study identified a number of practices which induce active participation of the child who uses AAC. Practices that are conducive for active participation include relinquishing time and space for the child who uses AAC to be in control of the interaction. It entails to actively invite the child who uses AAC, or other children to be involved in the interaction. Another important practice is to ensure that the communicative parties share common communicative goals. Communication partners’ abilities to balance and counterbalance the necessity to follow, share or sometimes inhibit a need to shape communicative projects initiated by the child, are crucial to achieve participation and engagement of the child in interaction.

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DOI: 10.1558/cam.v7i2.165


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