Thesis Title

The Effects of Typically Developing Peers on the Participation and Language of Children With Complex Communication Needs During Shared Storybook Reading

Date of Graduation

Spring 2007


Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders


Communication Sciences and Disorders

Committee Chair

Lisa Wood


storybook reading, augmentative and alternative communication, peer intervention, manipulatives, engagement measurements

Subject Categories

Communication Sciences and Disorders


Storybook reading and peer models have proven to be effective intervention strategies for children with communication disorders, however, there is limited research to support the use of these strategies as a duel approach for children using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of peer intervention and the use of manipulatives on children with disabilities who have complex communication needs using AAC during storybook reading and related activities. An evidence-based practice review of the literature was conducted to assess the current trends in storybook reading and identify the most effective and efficient ways to measure the child’s participation and engagement. A child using an AAC device participated in six storybook reading sessions that followed an alternating treatment design, with sessions alternating between peer/no peer and manipulatives/no manipulatives. The investigators used objective and subjective ratings to assess the participant’s engagement, enjoyment, participation, and attentiveness. Previous research and the results of the current study found that multiple measures are needed to assess the participation and engagement of children during storybook reading and related activities. Additional results revealed that the participant’s verbalizations increased with the presence of the peer and the manipulatives. The participant’s use of the AAC device increased with repeated storybook readings and the removal of manipulatives. The presence of the peer had no effect on the participant’s focused attention, however, the participant focused on the manipulatives, when present, for the majority of time.


© Megan E. Galey