Increasing an AAC User's Classroom Community Membership Through Peer Social Networks: An Ecological Intervention

Kim W. Fisher, Karrie A. Shogren, James W. Halle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Increasingly, disability is being conceptualized through a social-ecological framework that emphasizes the match or mismatch between the person and their environment (Wehmeyer et al., 2008). With that, researchers, practitioners, and policymakers have examined what supports are necessary to create truly inclusive communities for individuals with disabilities, their families, and community members. In social interaction research within the schools, an effort to conceptualize social interaction supports for children with severe disabilities has emerged (Carter & Hughes, 2005). For children with severe disabilities who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), however, this is not the case (Snell, Chen, & Hoover, 2006). Instead, a majority of social interaction research for these children has focused on skill development (Fisher & Shogren, 2012). The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of social skills instruction on the classroom community membership of a child with severe disabilities (who used AAC) and her peers. We used (a) social interaction rate, (b) sociometric status, and (c) Social Cognitive Mapping (Cairns, Perrin, & Cairns, 1985) for analysis. Results and recommendations for future research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-180
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013


  • assistive technology
  • augmetative and alternative communication (AAC)
  • severe disability
  • social interaction
  • social network


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