Communicative Interaction between Young Nonspeaking Physically Disabled Children and their Primary Caregivers: Part IICommunicative Function

Janice Light, Barbara Collier, Penny Parnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

84 Scopus citations


The study analyzed the communicative interaction patterns of eight congenitally nonspeaking physically disabled children (between the ages of 4 and 6 years) to determine the range and frequency patterns of their communicative functions in two separate contexts: in a 20-minute free play situation with their primary caregivers and in a series of structured play contexts with a clinician trained in augmentative communication. The childrens performances within the eliciting contexts were compared with their performances within the free play interaction with their primary caregivers. The children produced a limited range of communicative functions in the free play interactions with their caregivers. Most of the childrens communicative turns were yes/no responses (a mean of 39%) or provisions of specific information requested by the caregivers (a mean of 18.4%). The children seldom requested information, requested clarification, or produced social conventions (e.g., greetings, closings). The children produced a wider range of communicative functions in the eliciting contexts with the clinician than in the free play interaction with their caregivers. Results are discussed with reference to the literature in the field. Directions for clinical intervention and for future research are discussed in light of the findings of this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-107
Number of pages10
JournalAugmentative and Alternative Communication
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1985


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Rehabilitation
  • Speech and Hearing

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