Impact of e-mentoring on online conversations by adolescents with complex communication needs

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Grace, Emma
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Flinders University
Copyright © 2018 the author. All rights reserved.
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Introduction: Adolescents with complex communication needs (CCN) have limited use of natural speech for communication and use a range of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) methods. They experience difficulties in face-to-face conversations. Enhancing participation in everyday life is a key goal of AAC interventions. Methodology: This mixed methods research explored changes in social media use and participation in online conversations by adolescents with CCN following an e-mentoring intervention. Methods: Four mentees and two mentors with CCN participated in the four month e-mentoring intervention. Multiple baseline single case experimental design was used to investigate the effects of the intervention on participation in online conversations. Online conversations of the mentees were collected before, during and after the e-mentoring intervention over a period up to 34 weeks. Measures of goal attainment were used to describe changes in social media use. Computer Mediated Discourse Analysis (CMDA) was used to investigate changes in participation in online conversation. Fidelity measures of the mentoring intervention were also collected. Results: Participants demonstrated improvements in their social media use goals and in hours spent in online conversations following the intervention. CMDA demonstrated increases in conversational turns and functions following the intervention. Conclusion: This research demonstrates the feasibility of e-mentoring interventions for adolescents with CCN. Variability in the data compromised the ability to interpret the effect of the intervention. Increases in participation in online conversations were observed for some measures. Implications: These findings provide evidence that online conversations are a valuable context for providing AAC interventions and reinforce our understanding of the complex and inter-directional relationships between activity, participation, environmental and personal factors.
This abstract was prepared for the inaugural 'HDR Student Conference', Flinders University, November 2018. Copyright © the author
Participation, Complex communication needs, Social Media, Mentoring, Adolescents
Grace, Emma (2018, November) Impact of e-mentoring on online conversations by adolescents with complex communication needs Paper presented at 'HDR Student conference', Flinders University, Bedford Park.