Communication & Medicine, Vol 6, No 1 (2009)

Interaction during Intervention: Conversations between professionals and children with cerebral palsy

Pernille Holck, Annika Dahlgren Sandberg, Ulrika Nettelbladt
Issued Date: 13 Jul 2009


To develop interactional ability, conversation with both peers and adults is vital. However, for children with physical impairments, like cerebral palsy, interactions with adults often dominate. In this study, interaction between eight Swedish children with cerebral palsy, mean age 8;6 years, and their physiotherapists (PTs) and speech-language therapists (SLTs) was analysed during intervention across 16 dyads. The analysis of data focused on how quantitative, interactional and topical dominance was manifested by the PTs and the SLTs. In addition, mitigating strategies and use of feedback was investigated. Surprisingly, the only significant finding was in topic maintenance, where the PTs’ conversations were more directed towards topics unrelated to the intervention context when compared to the conversations of the SLTs. Although not significant, the PTs tended to dominate by having a greater amount of talk, and the SLTs by asking many questions. It is discussed how the two professions may contribute to the development of interactional skills and pragmatic ability among children with cerebral palsy, given their professional training and focus of intervention.

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DOI: 10.1558/cam.v6i1.49


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