Vocabulary comprehension and strategies in name construction among children using aided communication
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Vocabulary learning reflects the language experiences of the child, both in typical and atypical development, although the vocabulary development of children who use aided communication may differ from children who use natural speech. This study compared the performance of children using aided communication with that of peers using natural speech on two measures of vocabulary knowledge: comprehension of graphic symbols and labeling of common objects. There were 92 participants not considered intellectually disabled in the aided group. The reference group consisted of 60 participants without known disorders. The comprehension task consisted of 63 items presented individually in each participant's graphic system, together with four colored line drawings. Participants were required to indicate which drawing corresponded to the symbol. In the expressive labelling task, 20 common objects presented in drawings had to be named. Both groups indicated the correct drawing for most of the items in the comprehension tasks, with a small advantage for the reference group. The reference group named most objects quickly and accurately, demonstrating that the objects were common and easily named. The aided language group named the majority correctly and in addition used a variety of naming strategies; they required more time than the reference group. The results give insights into lexical processing in aided communication and may have implications for aided language intervention.