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Application of the CCS in peer and adult contexts (Thiemann-Bourque et al., 2019)

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Version 2 2019-02-23, 00:12
Version 1 2018-12-06, 18:54
journal contribution
posted on 2019-02-23, 00:12 authored by Kathy S. Thiemann-Bourque, Nancy Brady, Lesa Hoffman
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to measure changes in communication of preschoolers with autism using the Communication Complexity Scale (CCS; Brady et al., 2012) and to examine the utility of the CCS in measuring pretreatment and posttreatment changes within peer and adult assessment contexts.
Method: The CCS was used to code preassessment and postassessment for 23 children with autism randomly assigned to a treatment that incorporated a peer-mediated approach and a speech-generating device and 22 assigned o a business-as-usual condition with untrained peers. Children were assessed in 2 structured 30-min contexts—1 with an adult examiner and 1 with a peer partner coached by an adult.
Results: Children in both groups showed significant changes in communication complexity CCS scores from pretreatment to posttreatment in the adult and peer contexts. At both occasions, CCS scores were higher with adult partners yet showed greater improvements over time with peer partners.
Conclusions: Results showed that the CCS was sensitive to change over time but did not discriminate changes in communication complexity associated with maturation versus treatment. It did show some differences based on interactions with peer versus adult partners. Outcomes provide preliminary support for using this scale to measure communication changes in different contexts.

Supplemental Material S1. Administration procedures and directions provided to the peer partner for all 12 tasks.

Thiemann-Bourque, K. S., Brady, N., & Hoffman, L. (2019). Application of the communication complexity scale in peer and adult assessment contexts for preschoolers with autism spectrum disorders. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 28, 29–42.


This research was funded by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grants R01DC012530 and R01HD076903.