Discovering Communicative Competencies in a Nonspeaking Child With Autism Purpose This article is intended to demonstrate that adapted conversation analysis (CA) and speech act analysis (SAA) may be applied by speech-language pathologists (SLPs) to (a) identify communicative competencies in nonspeaking children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), especially during particularly successful interactions, and (b) identify communicative patterns that are exhibited ... Clinical Exchange
Clinical Exchange  |   October 01, 2007
Discovering Communicative Competencies in a Nonspeaking Child With Autism
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lillian N. Stiegler
    Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond
  • Contact author: Lillian N. Stiegler, Southeastern Louisiana University, Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, Box 10879 SLU, Hammond, LA 70402. E-mail: lstiegler@selu.edu.
Article Information
Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Normal Language Processing / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Clinical Exchange: Discovering Communicative Competencies in a Nonspeaking Child With Autism
Clinical Exchange   |   October 01, 2007
Discovering Communicative Competencies in a Nonspeaking Child With Autism
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2007, Vol. 38, 400-413. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2007/041)
History: Received November 29, 2005 , Revised March 19, 2006 , Accepted December 21, 2006
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2007, Vol. 38, 400-413. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2007/041)
History: Received November 29, 2005; Revised March 19, 2006; Accepted December 21, 2006
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

Purpose This article is intended to demonstrate that adapted conversation analysis (CA) and speech act analysis (SAA) may be applied by speech-language pathologists (SLPs) to (a) identify communicative competencies in nonspeaking children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), especially during particularly successful interactions, and (b) identify communicative patterns that are exhibited by interventionists and communication partners that may positively or negatively impact interactions with such children.

Method A case example involving an 8-year-old boy with autism and the author, an SLP, is explicated. A videotaped segment from an intervention session was transcribed and subjected to adapted forms of CA and SAA.

Results CA and SAA helped reveal several underlying competencies in the boy’s communicative output, including an awareness of conversational structure and sequence, diversity of communicative acts, functional use of gaze and smile behavior, and the ability to spontaneously initiate interactions. Observations regarding the SLP’s interactive style included the use of multiple instances of “asking” as well as multiple “derailments” of the boy’s obvious communicative bids.

Conclusion CA and SAA may be adapted to gain a clearer picture of what takes place during especially positive communicative interactions with nonspeaking children with ASD.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT
The author wishes to acknowledge Nina Simmons-Mackie, Marlene DesRoches, Paula S. Currie and S. Genia Britt for their valuable assistance and support.
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