An ethnographic study into the communication processes of a family with a disabled children, producing a set of guidelines of new AAC application.
[Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)]
Every day, children with speech difficulties face social and educational isolation as well as serious frustration because they cannot communicate to express their wants, thoughts, desires, knowledge, and emotions to other people such as their parents, and teachers. At present, AAC technologies are widely used as a platform for improving communication difficulties. Additionally, a substantial amount of research has focused on using technologies to help adults with disabilities to communicate with other adults either for purpose of designing new technology or for explore their interaction toward the technologies. However, substantially few literatures were available on relation to the communication needs of young children with disabilities in purpose of exploring children's interaction. The work of this study is complements these previous efforts on understanding children's interactions toward technologies by clarifying the interactional order while interacting with AAC application in a children group that has been missing from the literature.
Therefore, it was conducted an ethnographic study on two young children aged 4 - 7 years to understand how they use the iPad as an example of assistive technology to facilitate their communication process. Firstly, it was shed light on a literature review to identify how a various research studies view that perspectives of conducting an ethnographic study in such of this type of study, and perspectives of choosing an iPad as an assistive technology for disabled. Consequently, consent was gained from the gatekeepers of these children to observe them and their children in their environment to explore the aims of this study, and it was completed by using interviews with gatekeepers to clarify more some findings that from observation sessions. From the fieldwork, the intervention results were largely positive, and it was found a list of an interactional order from using the iPad and AAC by the disabled children to communicate, these findings were illustrated in more details. In conclude, it was discussed the interpretations of these findings, and then derived from these interpretations suggested guidelines for new AAC application.
Further empirical research is needed to develop new AAC applications across a range of different skills (communication, academic, social skills, etc.) with children with disabilities.
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