Perceptions of communication before and after a speech pathology intervention for an adult with intellectual disability

Sheridan Lee Forster, Teresa Iacono

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    Background The aim of this study was to explore, from the perspective of key communication partners, the meaning of a communication intervention and associated changes for an adult with severe intellectual disability (ID). Method The parents and key support workers of Mark, a 22-year-old man with ID and complex communication needs, were interviewed. The interviews were conducted prior to and following a speech pathology intervention and were guided by a communication inventory based on the concept of social networks. Interview transcripts were analysed qualitatively, with a focus on the subjective meaning of communication changes. These changes were explored according to both the specific information sought through the inventory and additional information provided. Results The findings were organised into three key themes relating to Mark, his familiar communication partners (i.e., parents and disability support workers), and the community. Information obtained from the interviews indicated that Mark s reported communication level remained stable across the intervention. However, an in-depth analysis of the interview transcripts revealed some gains in his communication skills. From the perspective of Mark s familiar communication partners, key sub-themes emerged which were related to changes in ascription of responsibility for developing skills and strategies to enhance Mark s communication. Furthermore, greater participation by Mark in his home community was evident. Conclusions The findings are discussed in terms of the assessment of an individual s communication through interactions with communication partners, and how changes associated with an intervention can be best understood from analysis of rich data.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)302 - 314
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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