2014 Funding Round – Emerging Researcher First Grant

Dr Larah van der Meer
Victoria University of Wellington
Assistive communication technology for adults with intellectual disability
$150,000
18 months

Lay summary

Many adults with intellectual disability lack the ability to speak and are therefore candidates for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), using tools such as electronic speech-generating devices. This project focuses on how best to train support staff to provide AAC intervention to adults in their care who would benefit from AAC. Staff in residential facilities currently lack the knowledge necessary for implementing effective AAC intervention to support adults with intellectual disability to communicate. There is urgent need for research into methods of professional development. We will develop a video training programme for support staff. The effectiveness of the video training will be evaluated using single-case experimental designs that will assess staff knowledge before and after training, their delivery of AAC interventions and the impact on those in their care. Developing effective training tools will significantly impact disability services by improving health-related communication outcomes for adults with intellectual disability who need AAC.

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