a Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Disability and Habilitation , Uppsala University , Uppsala , Sweden.
Communication with speech generating devices (SGDs) with children with severe physical, communicative and cognitive impairments, such as children with cerebral palsy (CP), can be difficult. Use of partner strategies facilitates the communication and instructional approaches such as feedback and role play facilitate communication partners' learning in how to use partner strategies. To describe communication partners' use and learning about partner strategies in SGD-mediated communication with children with severe CP. Questionnaires (n = 65) were sent to caregivers (n = 30), teachers (n = 17), and teaching or personal assistants (n = 18) of children with severe CP. Response rate was 80%. To ask open-ended questions was the most frequently used partner strategy and aided augmented input the least frequently used partner strategy. Most commonly, participants learned partner strategies from speech and language pathologists (SLPs) who used verbal instructions when teaching partner strategies but seldom or never feedback, role play or video examples. Communication partners' learning about partner strategies in SGD-mediated communication is inadequate and needs to be improved. SLPs, who are the main prescribers of SGDs and responsible for training and support in using them, should consider using instructional approaches when teaching communication partners about partner strategies in communication with an SGD.
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