A large portion of the world’s population is multilingual. This trend is reflected in the
population with communication disorders, and therefore in people with complex
communication needs (CCN). People with CCN may need alternative and
augmentative communication (AAC) systems to facilitate their participation in daily life.
These systems are often related to the language of the person’s community. Yet, if this
person lives in a multilingual community, little current research is available to guide the
design of AAC systems that give access to expression in more than one language.
This pilot study aimed to determine the ability of typically developing Afrikaans-English
bilingual children, between the ages of 4;6 (years;months) and 6;11, to label Picture
Communication Symbols (PCS) in both these languages when taught with mono
medium (English) versus dual medium (Afrikaans and English) teaching. Four
participants, who spoke Afrikaans and English, were included in the study. A withinsubjects
crossover design was used. Each participant was taught two sets of symbols,
one using mono medium and one dual medium teaching. Treatments were
counterbalanced for order and set. Results tentatively showed that the teaching
method was successful, with participants being able to label most symbols in English
when taught in either mono (English) or dual medium. Participants were also able to
label symbols in Afrikaans when taught the symbols by dual medium teaching. Some
participants were spontaneously able to translate symbols taught by mono medium
teaching (English) to Afrikaans. This pilot study tentatively suggests that this ability is
dependent on the child’s receptive vocabulary ability in both languages, as well as their
ability to express the concepts depicted by the symbols in both L1 and L2. Future
research is needed with studies that include a larger sample size, to be able to draw
more robust conclusions.
Mini Dissertation (M(AAC))--University of Pretoria, 2017.