Receptive language skills form the foundation for later expressive use and therefore play an important role in language development. The role of receptive language skills in the field of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) has received limited attention as, historically, the function of AAC has been to enhance the expressive language skills of persons who rely on AAC. While this is an important role and the primary outcome of AAC intervention, the role of AAC intervention on receptive language skills is equally important. The ability of persons who rely on AAC to understand spoken language ranges from age equivalent comprehension to minimal comprehension. AAC interventions that improve comprehension include a variety of strategies, but a synthesis of the effects of these strategies has not occurred. The aim of this scoping review was, therefore, to map and synthesise the research evidence on the effects of AAC interventions on receptive language skills of children with developmental disabilities. A four-pronged search strategy was used to identify studies that met the inclusion criteria. Twenty-three studies were included in the scoping review. The studies were described in terms of number of publications, participant characteristics, research design, AAC interventions, intervention outcomes, intervention effects, and quality appraisal. Furthermore, the studies were described in terms of three groups of effects: (i) the effect of aided AAC interventions, (ii) the effect of unaided AAC interventions, and (iii) a comparison of two types of AAC interventions. The trends and gaps in the literature are highlighted in terms of the use of AAC interventions and the receptive language skills addressed. Directions for future research are posited. Valuable preliminary evidence regarding the effects of AAC interventions on receptive language skills of children with developmental disabilities was obtained in the scoping review.
Mini Dissertation (M(AAC))--University of Pretoria, 2017.