Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) provides many individuals who have little or no functional speech with a means to enter the world of communication. Aided and/or unaided symbols are used as a means of reception and expression to create shared meaning. The selection of an appropriate symbol set/system is vital and iconicity plays a central role in this process. The Western-based symbol set, Picture Communication Symbols (PCS) (Johnson, 1981), is readily available and widely used in South Africa, despite little information existing on its iconicity to South African populations with disabilities. This study aimed to determine the iconicity of Picture Communication Symbols (PCS) for children with English Additional Language (EAL) and intellectual disability. A quantitative, non-experimental, descriptive design was used. Thirty participants between the ages of 12;00 and 15;11 (years; months) with EAL and intellectual disability were required to identify 16 PCS presented thematically on a ‘bed-making’ communication overlay in response to a gloss read out by the researcher. The results indicated that, overall, the 16 PCS were relatively iconic to the participants. The results also indicated that the iconicity of PCS can be manipulated and enhanced and that it can be influenced by other PCS that are used simultaneously on the communication overlay. The reasons for these findings are described. The clinical and theoretical implications of this study’s results are discussed, followed by a critical evaluation of this study and, finally, recommendations for future research are suggested.
Dissertation (Master of Arts)--University of Pretoria, 2012.