Speech and Hearing Sciences ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-30-2021


Purpose: This study examined the inter-observer agreement (IOA) and within-observer agreement as well as the clinical potential of newly proposed measures that are designed to monitor language progress of children with Down syndrome who use AAC. Measures were explored based on the Graphic Symbol Utterance and Sentence Development Framework.

Method: Participants included 8 preschoolers with Down syndrome. Four graduate student observers coded 13 measures across 57 intervention sessions. Each session was coded by two observers for IOA, and all sessions were recoded for within-observer agreement. Statistical analyses were completed on utterance level and session level.

Results: Across all observers and measures, an acceptable level of IOA and within-observer agreement was achieved, even though some measures demonstrated varied data.

Conclusion: Results provided initial evidence that the new measures can be used reliably. These findings are a first step in developing psychometrically sound ways to assess communication skills in children who use AAC.

Degree Name

Speech-Language Pathology

Level of Degree


Department Name

Speech and Hearing Sciences

First Committee Member (Chair)

Cathy Binger

Second Committee Member

Jessica Richardson

Third Committee Member

Cindy Gevarter




AAC, child language development, Down syndrome, measurement, reliability

Document Type