Communicative performance of adolescents with severe speech impairment: influence of context.
The communicative performance of 4 preoperational-level adolescents, using limited speech, gestures, and communication board techniques, was examined in a two-part investigation. In Part 1, each subject participated in an academic interaction with a teacher in a therapy room. Data were transcribed and coded for communication mode, function, and role. Two subjects were found to predominantly use the speech mode, while the remaining 2 predominantly used board and one other mode. The majority of productions consisted of responses to requests, and the initiator role was infrequently occupied. These findings were similar to those reported in previous investigations conducted in classroom settings. In Part 2, another examination of the communicative performance of these subjects was conducted in spontaneous interactions involving speaking and nonspeaking peers in a therapy room. Using the same data analysis procedures, gesture and speech modes predominated for 3 of the subjects in the nonspeaking peer interactions. The remaining subject exhibited minimal interaction. No consistent pattern of mode usage was exhibited across the speaking peer interactions. In the nonspeaking peer interactions, request predominated. In contrast, a variety of communication functions was exhibited in the speaking peer interactions. Both the initiator and the maintainer roles were occupied in the majority of interactions. Pertinent variables and clinical implications are discussed.