Resources for "Twenty Years of Communication Intervention Research with Individuals who have Severe Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities"

National Joint Committee for the Communication Needs of Persons with Severe Disabilities (NJC)


Martha E. Snell, University of Virginia, Nancy Brady, University of Kansas, Lee McLean, University of North Carolina at Chapel-Hill, Billy T. Ogletree, Western Carolina University, Ellin Siegel, University of Nebraska, Lorraine Sylvester, University of Oklahoma, Beth Mineo, University of Delaware, Diane Paul, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Mary Ann Romski, Georgia State University, and Rose Sevcik, Georgia State University


This literature review was conducted to evaluate the current state of evidence supporting communication interventions for individuals with severe disabilities. Authors reviewed 116 articles published between 1987 and 2007 in refereed journals meeting three criteria: (a) described a communication intervention, (b) involved one or more participants with severe disabilities, and (c) addressed one or more areas of communication performance. Many researchers failed to report treatment fidelity or to assess basic aspects of intervention effects including generalization, maintenance, and social validity. The evidence reviewed indicates that 96% of the studies reported positive changes in some aspects of communication. These findings support the provision of communication intervention to persons with severe disabilities. Gaps in the research were reported with recommendations for future research.

Resources for the Article

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