The National Center for Evidence-Based Practice
in Communication Disorders
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Summary of Systematic Review

Social and Communicative Interventions and Transition Outcomes for Youth with Disabilities: A Systematic Review
Alwell, M., & Cobb, B. (2009).
Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 32(2), 94-107.

This review meets the criteria for a high-quality evidence-based systematic review.

Indicators of Review Quality:

The review states a clearly focused question or aim No
Criteria for inclusion of studies are provided Yes
Search strategy is described in sufficient detail for replication Yes
Included studies are assessed for study quality Yes
Quality assessments are reproducible Yes
Characteristics of the included studies are provided Yes

Description:
This review of scientifically-based research studies (including group-based, single-subject, or qualitative designs) explores the relationship between communicative interventions and transition-related outcomes for adolescents with disabilities.

Question(s)/Aim(s) Addressed:
Question not specifically stated.

Population:
Secondary-aged youth with disabilities

Intervention/Assessment:
Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), conversation skills, decreasing inappropriate behavior, and social skills training

Number of Studies Included:
30

Years Included:
1985 to January 2003

Conclusions:
 
Childhood Speech and Language Disorders
  • Treatment

    • Language

      • Social Skills Training

        • “Although with admittedly only a handful of studies, our average effect sizes for both types of group designs were 1.10 and .42 for between groups and one group pretest-posttest studies respectively.  All we can conclude is that our review supports the efficacy of SST interventions with secondary aged youth with disabilities across all design typologies” (p. 28).

        • “Second, our findings on the efficacy of AAC interventions are somewhat more consistent with prior reviews (cf. Lancioni et al. 2001). Again, we had only four single-participant studies from which to draw our conclusions, and the magnitude of our effect size estimate is not very interpretable, but our average effect size estimate is homogeneously positive, albeit modest” (p. 29).

      • Discourse Treatment

        • “Third, we found even more support for interventions designed to enhance conversation skills of students with disabilities. Despite the removal of two single-participant studies whose effect sizes were extraordinarily high, the average effect size for the remaining five studies was the highest from among the three subgroups of intervention types (2.90), and the two very well-designed group studies on this intervention (Lamb et al. 1997; Smith& Griffin, 2002) provide consistently strong support as well” (p. 29).

      • Behavioral Treatments

        • The authors were unable to draw aggregate conclusions regarding the efficacy of behavior-analytic interventions designed to reduce inappropriate social behavior.

Social Communication Disorders

  • Treatment

    • Cognition/Language

      • Augmentative-Alternative Communication

        • General Findings

          • In regard to acquisition of social/communicative skills by secondary aged youth with disabilities, efficacy was found with social skills training, augmentative and alternative communication, and interventions designed to enhance conversation skills (pp. 28-29).  The study authors were unable "to draw aggregate conclusions about the efficacy of behavior-analytic interventions [...] designed to reduce inappropriate social behavior" (p. 29).

      • Behavioral Interventions/Techniques

        • General Findings

          • In regard to acquisition of social/communicative skills by secondary aged youth with disabilities, efficacy was found with social skills training, augmentative and alternative communication, and interventions designed to enhance conversation skills (pp. 28-29).  The study authors were unable "to draw aggregate conclusions about the efficacy of behavior-analytic interventions [...] designed to reduce inappropriate social behavior" (p. 29).

      • Discourse Skills Interventions

        • In regard to acquisition of social/communicative skills by secondary aged youth with disabilities, efficacy was found with social skills training, augmentative and alternative communication, and interventions designed to enhance conversation skills (pp. 28-29). The study authors were unable "to draw aggregate conclusions about the efficacy of behavior-analytic interventions [...] designed to reduce inappropriate social behavior" (p. 29).

      • Pragmatic/Social Skills Treatment

        • General Findings

          • In regard to acquisition of social/communicative skills by secondary aged youth with disabilities, efficacy was found with social skills training, augmentative and alternative communication, and interventions designed to enhance conversation skills (pp. 28-29). The study authors were unable "to draw aggregate conclusions about the efficacy of behavior-analytic interventions [...] designed to reduce inappropriate social behavior" (p. 29).

Sponsoring Body:
U.S. Department of Education

Keywords:
Deafness, Learning Disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Intellectual Disabilities (use for Mental Retardation), Language Disorders, Specific Language Impairment, Developmental Disorders, Social Skills.

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