Communication and behavioral assessment of persons with developmental disabilities
Barker-Collo, Suzanne Lyn.
Master of Arts
Developmentally disabled Means of communication
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Communication affects many areas of daily life. Therefore, support programs to assist persons with developmental disabilities should identify individuals who would especially benefit from communication training. Forty individuals with developmental disabilities were assessed on Vineland Adaptive Behavioral Scales (VABS) (Sparrow, Balia, &Cicchetti, 1984), the Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities (ABLA) test (Kerr, Meyerson, & Flora, 1977), and a Communication Status Survey developed for this study. ABLA level was correlated with all VABS scales except gross motor skills and maladaptive behaviors. These correlations validate the use of the ABLA as a measure of cognitive ability. Ability to use formal communication modes (speech, sign language, symbols) was significantly (p= 0.001) related to ABLA level. Examination of individual cases suggested that the ABLA may be predictive of the ability to acquire formal communication. All persons able to pass ABLA level 2 or higher who had received previous communication training had some formal communication ability. In contrast, five individuals who were able to pass ABLA level 2 or 3 and lacked formal communication had not received communication training. The importance of formal communication is confirmed since persons without formal communication were unable to provide information about immediate and external environments or request clarification. Training in formal communication may be of benefit in allowing clients to perform these skills.