Current literature suggests a lack of empirically validated strategies for teaching reading skills to children who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). The current study implemented a single-subject, multiple-probe-across-subjects design to investigate the effects of direct instruction in single-word reading on the performance of students who use AAC. The instructional program targeted the reading skills of 5 participants who had severe speech impairments and ranged in age from 9 to 14 years old. All 5 participants reached criterion for matching targeted written words to corresponding pictures. Three of the 5 participants demonstrated generalization of reading skills to novel-word reading, and 4 of the 5 generalized reading skills to book contexts. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.

References

  • Adams, M. J. (1990). Beginning to read: Thinking and learning about print. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Bird, J., Bishop, D. V. M., & Freeman, N. H. (1995). Phonological awareness and literacy development in children with expressive phonological impairments.Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 38, 446–462.
  • Bishop, D. V. M., & Robson, J. (1989). Unimpaired short term memory and rhyme judgement in congenitally speechless individuals: Implications for the notion of “articulatory coding.”.The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 41A(1), 123–140.
  • Blischak, D. M. (1994). Phonologic awareness: Implications for individuals with little or no functional speech.Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 10, 245–254.
  • Carnine, D. W., Silbert, J., & Kameenui, E. J. (1997). Direct instruction reading (3rd ed.). Columbus, OH: Merrill.
  • Carrow-Woolfolk, E. (1999). Test for Auditory Comprehension of Language—Third Edition. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.
  • Catts, H., & Kamhi, A. (1999). Causes of reading disabilities.In H. Catts & A. Kamhi (Eds.), Language and reading disabilities (pp. 95–117). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
  • Chall, J. S. (1967). Learning to read: The great debate. New York: Harcourt Brace.
  • Chall, J. S. (1996). Learning to read: The great debate (3rd ed.). New York: Harcourt Brace.
  • Cunningham, P. M., & Cunningham, J. W. (2002). What we know about how to teach phonics.In A. E. Farstrup & S. J. Samuels (Eds.), What research has to say about reading instruction (pp. 87–109). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
  • Dowden, P. (1997). Augmentative and alternative communication decision-making for children with severely unintelligible speech.Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 13, 48–58.
  • Dunn, L. M., & Dunn, L. M. (1997). Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test—Third Edition. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.
  • Ehri, L. C., Nunes, S. R., Willows, D. M., Schuster, B. V., Yaghoub-Zadeh, Z., & Shanahan, T. (2001). Phonemic awareness instruction helps children learn to read: Evidence from the National Reading Panel’s metaanalysis.Reading Research Quarterly, 36, 250–283.
  • Ellis, E. S., Worthington, L., & Larkin, M. (1994). Research synthesis on effective teaching principles and the design of quality tools for educators: Executive summary (Tech. Rep. No. 6). Eugene: University of Oregon.
  • Farstrup, A. E. (2002). There is more to effective reading instruction than research.In A. E. Farstrup & S. J. Samuels (Eds.), What research has to say about reading instruction (pp. 1–7). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
  • Foley, B. (1993). The development of literacy in individuals with severe congenital speech and motor impairments.Topics in Language Disorders, 13(2), 16–32.
  • Foley, B., & Pollatsek, A. (1999). Phonological processing and reading abilities in adolescents and adults with severe congenital speech impairments.Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 15, 156–173.
  • Hatcher, P. J., Hulme, C., & Snowling, M. J. (2004). Explicit phoneme training combined with phonic reading instruction helps young children at risk of reading failure.Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45, 338–358.
  • Koppenhaver, D., & Yoder, D. (1993). Classroom literacy instruction for children with severe speech and physical impairments (SSPI): What is and what might be.Topics in Language Disorders, 13(2), 1–13.
  • Liberman, I. Y., & Shankweiler, D. (1991). Phonology and beginning reading: A tutorial.In L. Rieben & C. A. Perfetti (Eds.), Learning to read: Basic research and implications (pp. 3–18). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Light, J., & Kelford Smith, A. (1993). Home literacy experiences of preschoolers who use AAC systems and of their nondisabled peers.Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 9, 10–25.
  • McReynolds, L. V., & Kearns, K. P. (1983). Single subject experimental designs in communicative disorders. Baltimore: University Park Press.
  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction (NIH Publication No. 00-4769). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
  • Nelson, N. W. (1992). Performance is the prize: Language competence and performance among AAC users.Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 8, 3–18.
  • O'Connor, R. E., Jenkins, J. R., Leicester, N., & Slocum, T. A. (1993). Teaching phonological awareness to young children with learning disabilities.Exceptional Children, 59, 532–546.
  • Sandberg, A. D. (2001). Reading and spelling, phonological awareness, and working memory in children with severe speech impairments: A longitudinal study.Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 17, 11–26.
  • Schlosser, R. W. (2003). Single-subject experimental designs.In R. W. Schlosser (Ed.), The efficacy of augmentative and alternative communication: Toward evidence-based practice. London: Academic Press.
  • Schlosser, R. W., & Lee, D. (2000). Promoting generalization and maintenance in augmentative and alternative communication: A meta-analysis of 20 years of effectiveness research.Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 16, 208–227.
  • D. C. Simmons, & E. D. Kameenui (Eds.). (1998). What reading research tells us about children with diverse learning needs: Bases and basics. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Smith, S., Simmons, D., & Kameenui, E. (1998). Phonological awareness: Research bases.In D. C. Simmons & E. D. Kameenui (Eds.), What reading research tells us about children with diverse learning needs: Bases and basics (pp. 61–127). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Taylor, M. C. (1989). Workplace literacy demands.Paper presented at the annual conference of the Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education, Quebec, Canada. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED330886)
  • Vandervelden, M., & Siegel, S. (1999). Phonological processing and literacy in AAC users and students with motor speech impairments.Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 15, 191–211.
  • van Kleeck, A., Gillam, R. B., & McFadden, T. U. (1998). A study of classroom-based phonological awareness training for preschoolers with speech and/or language disorders.American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 7(3), 65–76.

Additional Resources