Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in School Leadership

College

College of Education

Department

Center for Leadership & Learning

Committee Chair

Dr. John Freeman

Second Committee Member

Dr. Christopher E. Trombly

Third Committee Member

Christy Smith

Program Director

Dr. John Freeman

Dean of Graduate College

Dr. Jeff Robertson

Abstract

The importance of individuals’ ability to communicate cannot be overstated. Educational teams are charged with making educational placement decisions for students, like the ones in this study, with assessment tools that are not normed for nonverbal students with autism. This study focused on identical male twins with autism who are nonverbal and have acquired augmentative communication devices equipped with the Language Acquisition through Motor Planning learning system in order to facilitate their communication and learning. Interviews were conducted with parents, sibling, teacher, principal, and the speech-language pathologist that work directly with the twins daily. The twins received their individual devices in middle school, after failed attempts with other devices. They acquired their devices in order to reduce negative behaviors and improve mood, which impacts their social and academic success. Results from the data, as well as the interviews, indicated the twins demonstrated a reduction in negative behaviors, as well as improved overall mood, which has enabled the twins to participate more with their peers and at family events. The results of this study may be used to assist teams to include other pertinent information when making determinations, including relevant medical records, as well as guidance from family members and teacher-generated data.

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