No AccessAmerican Journal of Speech-Language PathologyResearch Article6 Feb 2018

Promoting Peer Interaction for Preschool Children With Complex Communication Needs and Autism Spectrum Disorder


    This study investigates the impact of a multicomponent intervention on the social communication and engagement of preschool children with complex communication needs (CCN) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and peers without disabilities.


    Five dyads of children participated in this research. A multiple probe design across dyads was used to evaluate the effects of intervention on the frequency of communicative turns expressed by children with CCN and ASD in interactions with peers. Frequency of peer turns, percentage of turns taken by peers, and joint engagement were investigated to assess the quality of the interaction. The intervention included (a) provision of a communication app on an Apple iPad Air 2 and (b) dyadic turn-taking training.


    Four of the 5 participants with CCN completed training and increased independent communicative turn-taking with peers. The 5th participant showed increased turn-taking during training but little change in independent turn-taking. All peers took more turns in intervention than in baseline, with no negative impact on the turn balance between participants. Average joint engagement increased for all dyads, although session-to-session variability was high.


    The results from this study provide support for the use of this intervention to promote peer interaction for children with CCN and ASD.

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