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Communicating choices training for IP setting (Gormley et al., 2023)

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posted on 2023-02-10, 20:02 authored by Jessica Gormley, David McNaughton, Janice Light

Purpose: Children with complex medical and communication needs often experience extensive or frequent hospital stays and rely on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) strategies to communicate in this environment. Health care providers seldom receive training to effectively communicate with these children, which may lead to limited participation opportunities for the child during inpatient interactions.

Method: A pretest–posttest experimental group design was completed to evaluate the effects of a brief mobile training designed to teach providers a procedure to support children with complex communication needs to communicate choices. Each provider participated in two pretest and two posttest interactions with children with complex communication needs during naturally occurring inpatient activities. Providers in the treatment group completed the video training, whereas providers in the control group did not.

Results: Following the training, (a) more providers offered choices to the children during hospital routines, (b) providers implemented the trained procedure with increased accuracy, and (c) the children with complex communication needs consistently communicated their choices when given the opportunity to do so. The providers rated the training as easy to use, effective, and suited to the needs of the inpatient setting.

Conclusions: This is the first AAC training designed to promote child–provider interactions in inpatient settings that demonstrates results that are efficient, socially valid, and effective in a real-world context. Future work is needed to develop additional brief and focused AAC partner trainings to teach providers to support the participation of children with complex communication needs in health care interactions.

Supplemental Material S1. Training layout and features.

Supplemental Material S2. Health care providers’ perceptions of the trainings and its effects.

Supplemental Material S3. Screenshot of a layout of the communicating choices training.

Gormley, J., McNaughton, D., & Light, J. (2023). Supporting children’s communication of choices during inpatient rehabilitation: Effects of a mobile training for health care providers. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 32(2), 545–564.


This study was supported by funds awarded to third author by The Pennsylvania State University. The funds were from grants from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR; Grant 90REGE0014, 90RE5017) to the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Augmentative and Alternative Communication. NIDILRR is a center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The research was also supported by funding received by the first author, as a doctoral student, from (a) a grant from the U.S. Department of Education (Grant H325D170024, The Penn State Augmentative and Alternative Communication Doctoral Leadership Project), (b) a 2018 ASHFoundation New Century Scholars Doctoral Scholarship, and (c) the Kligman Fellowship from The Pennsylvania State University.