Conference Publication Details
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Scott, S., Linehan, S., Donnelly, C., Healy, J. & Carroll, C.
World Down Syndrome Congress 2018
Children and their communication partners’ perspectives on key word signing as a communication method.
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Background: There are limited studies on key word signing which include the active participation of children who use augmentative and alternative communication. This research aimed to explore the supporting and hindering factors of key word signing use from the participants’ perspectives and to explore the participants’ expectations, experiences and perceptions of key word signing as a communication method. Design: Multiple qualitative case studies were used to understand the phenomenon. Multiple methods were used to facilitate the children with intellectual disability and their communication partners in the study. Methods: Three children aged between 10 and 13 years old with Down syndrome attending a special education school took part. Twelve communication partners also took part. Fifteen interviews and four observations were conducted. Interviews were semi structured and Talking Mats were with the children. Observations used event and time sampling within each child’s classroom and each child’s homes. From the multiple data sources the data was then converged in the analysis process. Thematic analysis was used to organise and describe the data in detail. Each case was analysed using thematic analysis and then cross case analysis used to identify the common relationships (Stake, 2006). Results: Four main themes were identified: 1. Making Sense of Key Word Signing, 2. What Makes Key Word Signing Work, 3. To be Understood, and 4. Longing for More. The findings indicate the potential benefits of key word signing for the child with DS and his/her communication partners. The value in including children with DS in research is highlighted. Implications: The findings can influence how key word signing is used and promoted. Even though the values of key word signing is recognised communication partners need support to maintain their motivation. Supporting children in sharing their views is very important.
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