Object Communication Research - Bibliography

by National Center on Deaf-Blindness on Jul 1, 2014
Print Screen Share
This is a partial list of materials on this topic available from the NCDB Catalog Database.  If you have additional questions, please contact us via email:

Updated 7/2014

An Analysis of Communicative Functions of Teachers and Their Students Who Are Congenitally Deafblind --Bruce, Susan; Godbold, Emily; Naponelli-Gold, Sarah. RE:view, vol. 36, #2, Summer 2004, pp. 81-90. (2004)
 Communicative function is the way a communication partner perceives or interprets the meaning of a sender's message. This is different from "intent," which is the purpose held by the sender. Communicative functions typically acquired by young children include protesting, calling, showing an object, giving an object, answering, labeling, requesting an object, requesting an action, commenting on objects, and commenting on actions. This study analyzes and describes the communicative functions of 3 school-age deaf-blind students and their teachers. A detailed procedure was used to identify communicative functions by videotaping and transcribing interactions between the children and their teachers and communicative functions were coded. Interactions were videotaped both prior to and following a teacher in-service training on the functions of communication.

A Case Study of the Emergent Literacy Supports in a Center-Based Education Program for Students Who Are Deafblind --McKenzie, Amy R., B.S., M.Ed. Lubbock, TX: Texas Tech University. A Dissertation in Special Education - Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of Texas Tech University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education May 2005. (2005) This research implemented a case study design to investigate the emergent literacy environments, teaching strategies and classroom activities used in a preschool classroom for students who are deafblind, located at a school for the blind. The case study data was collected through the use of direct observation, interviews and document review. Three data collection methods were used to ensure reliability, validity and triangulation of the data. Data analysis methods included coding, pattern coding and comparison of the data within the case to existing research in emergent literacy promising practices. The results of this study indicate that while many of the characteristics of promising practice emergent literacy environments were observed, some components were observed, some components were not present while others were unique to the deafblind preschool classroom. The unique aspects observed, such as activity schedules and tactile object symbols, were consistent with techniques recommended to foster communication and literacy development in students who are deafblind.

Communication Development of Children with Visual Impairment and Deafblindness: A Synthesis of Intervention Research/ Parker, Amy T.; Ivy, Sarah E. -- Elsevier: 2014, pp. 101-143. This chapter reports the results of a synthesis of research on educational interventions to improve early and emergent communication skills, both expressive and receptive, for children and youth with visual impairment and deafblindness, birth to 22 years of age. A search of electronic databases and recently published systematic reviews returned 34 articles published from January 2000 to August 2013 meeting inclusion criteria. Intervention studies focused primarily on communication partner training (n = 12), microswitch use (n = 10), or object symbol use (n = 7). The majority of researchers used experimental single-subject methods (n = 21, 62%) to examine efficacy of intervention to improve expressive communication skill. Results are discussed in terms of student characteristics, settings for intervention, critical procedural parameters, and targeted communication skills. Key conclusions for practitioners and researchers include individualizing interventions based on student preferences, ensuring the accessibility of materials and communication partners, implementing interventions within meaningful and naturalistic daily routines, training communication partners to be responsive, and designing and implementing high-quality research to identify evidence-based practices for communication interventions.  Contact the author(s) regarding availability of a copy of the chapter for individual research purposes.  
International Review of Research in Developmental Disabilities: Current Issues in the Education of Students with Visual Impairments. (vol.46) Deborah D. Hatton (Ed.)

The Development of a Universal Tangible Symbol System --Trief, Ellen; Bruce, Susan M.; Cascella, Paul W.; Ivy, Sarah. JOURNAL OF VISUAL IMPAIRMENT AND BLINDNESS, Vol. 103, #7, July 2009, pp. 425-430. (2009) The purpose of this study was to identify a set of standardized tangible symbols from which educational teams could select symbols for the children they serve. Tangible symbols are objects or partial objects with characteristics (e.g., shape, texture, and consistency) that can be used to refer to a person, place, object, activity, or concept. They are deemed an important form of communication for children with visual and additional impairments at the presymbolic level. This study surveyed 29 teachers and speech language pathologists about their use of tangible symbols. They were asked to identify the tangible symbols they already use, new activities and concepts they would like to have tangible symbols represent, and their preferences for tangible symbols for 28 referents that were identifed in a previous pilot study. A 14-member advisory board reviewed and discussed the results of the survey and suggested the symbols they thought were appropriate for each referent. The respondents identified 48 referents for which they already used or needed a tangible symbol and the advisory board identified an additional 9 referents.

Evidence-Based Communication Practices for Children with Visual Impairments and Additional Disabilities : An Examination of Single-Subject Design Studies --Parker, Amy T.; Grimmett, Eric S.; Summers, Sharon. JOURNAL OF VISUAL IMPAIRMENT & BLINDNESS, vol. 102, #9, September 2008, pp. 540-552. (2008) This review examines practices for building effective communication strategies for children with visual impairments, including those with additional disabilities, that have been tested by single-subject design methodology. It includes 30 studies, a number of which included children who are deaf-blind. The interventions tested in these studies were grouped into the following five categories: microswitch interventions (17 studies); multi-component partner training (6 studies); dual communication boards (4 studies); object symbols (2 studies); and adult-directed prompting (1 study).

The Impact of Congenital Deafblindness on the Struggle to Symbolism --Bruce, Susan M. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF DISABILITY, DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION, vol. 52, #3, September 2005, pp. 233-251. (2005) Most children who are congenitally deafblind are severely delayed in their communication development and many will not achieve symbolic understanding and expression. This article discusses developmental markers cited in the research literature as predictive of or facilitative of the development of symbolism. These markers include the growth toward more abstract representations, the rate of intentional communication, joint attention to objects and others, achievement of abstract play, consonantal and interactive vocalizations, distal gesture, varied early vocabulary and categories, use of varied cues for recall, object permanence, 1:1 correspondence, cause-effect, discrimination skills, and imitation. The impact of congenital deafblindness on the achievement of these milestones, is presented, along with compensatory strategies to support the child's development.

Participating Children and Their Teams --Chen, Deborah; Downing, June; Minor, Lavada; Rodriguez-Gil, Gloria. Northridge: Department of Special Education, California State University, Northridge. Successful Adaptations for Learning to Use Touch Effectively: Interacting with Children who are Deaf-Blind or Visually Impaired and Have Additional Disabilities, pp. 7-11. (2005) This is a description of the research findings of Project SALUTE, which conducted a number of activities related to tactile learning in children who are deaf-blind. One component of Project SALUTE involved research with four children in whom tactile strategies were identified, implemented, and evaluated. Data analysis was based on videotaped observations over the course of the two years that the children were followed. Findings included an increase in the use of appropriate tactile strategies by family members and service providers; a decrease in the use of hand-over-hand guidance by family members and service providers; an increase in positive and more active responses from children during interactions, including increased attention to the partner, increased frequency of responses to object queues and signs, and increased frequency of expressive communication; an increase in adults' expectation of a child's response as measured by an increase in "wait time" and using less support to prompt a response; and an increase in readability and elaboration of adults' interactions with children. Available on the web:

Perceptions of Teachers and Parents on the Cognitive Functioning of Children with Severe Mental Disability and Children with Congenital Deafblindness --Narayan, Jayanthi; Bruce, Susan M. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REHABILITATION RESEARCH, vol. 29, #1, pp. 9-16. (2006) Reports Phase I results of questionnaire study on the perceptions of US teachers and parents on the cognitive functioning of children with severe mental disability and children with congenital deafblindness, ages 4-12 years. Teachers were more likely than parents to report emerging skills and to provide examples of how the skill was being taught. Teachers and parents of children with severe mental disability had different perceptions about how children demonstrated understanding of cause-effect, object permanence, memory, incidental cues, reasoning and creativity. Teachers and parents of children with congenital deafblindness differed in their perceptions of how children demonstrate understanding of incidental cues and exhibit reasoning. Both teachers and parents expressed concern about whether choice making was meaningful. Novelty was reported to be a motivating factor for children with severe mental disability, while familiarity was cited as motivating for children with congenital deafblindness. Teachers and parents of all children cited consistency, routine, and repetition as important to learning

Research Report: The Use of Tangible Cues for Children with Multiple Disabilities and Visual Impairment --Trief, Ellen. JVIB, October 2007, Volume 101, Number 10, pp.613-619. (2007) The purpose of the study presented in this article was to introduce a communication system that uses tangible cues to the preschool and lower school children at the Lavelle School for the Blind in the Bronx, New York, who met the criteria for the intervention. The 25 students selected as participants in this study ranged in age from 4 to 16 years and had multiple disabilities, including either total blindness or low vision, moderate to severe cognitive delays, motor impairments ranging from mild to severe, and significant language delays or no expressive language. Tangible cues were learned by 15 of the 25 students who participated in this study. The 10 children who were unable to learn this skill were the most severely delayed in cognitive, motor, and visual skills as measured by their psychological and educational evaluations. The use of tangible cues with a student with multiple disabilities and visual impairment can provide the student with a communication system to express his or her wants and needs, make choices, and understand simple tasks and routines. The selection for actually designing and making the tangible cues must be carefully considered, and the highest level of iconicity should be used to represent the object or activity for the student to make the connection.

Tactile Learning Strategies: Interacting with Children Who Have Visual Impairments and Multiple Disabilities --Chen, Deborah; Downing, June. New York: AFB Press. Project SALUTE. (2006) Strategies and everyday activities for helping children who are visually impaired and have multiple disabilities to learn through touch are demonstrated using narration, interviews, and specific detailed examples of children and their families. Topics covered include: mutual tactile attention (following a child's lead without making any demands); tactile modeling (demonstrating an action); hand-under-hand guidance (showing a child by allowing him to feel another person's hand movements); hand-over-hand guidance (physical manipulation of a child's hands); touch cues (made by touching a child to let him know what is about to happen, provide info, and encourage interaction); object cues (objects or parts of objects that provide concrete cues to help a child anticipate and participate in a familiar activity); adapted sign (modifications of manual signs so they can be perceived tactilely), coactive sign (physical guidance of the child's hands to produce a sign); and tactile sign (produce signs under a child's hands). Video is produced by Project SALUTE. Available in video or DVD format (DB-LINK has one of each). English and Spanish versions are on the same videotape. In the DVD format, English and Spanish versions are on separate DVDs that come in the same case. Cost: $79.95 for the video; $99.95 for the DVD. Available from AFB Press. Phone: 800-232-3044. Publisher's web site:

Touch and Blindness: Psychology and Neuroscience --Heller, Morton A. (Ed.); Ballesteros, Soledad (Ed.) Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. (2006) "Touch and Blindness" approaches the study of touch and blindness from the perspectives of psychological methodology and techniques in neuroscience. This book, based on presentations by speakers at an international conference held in Spain 2002, presents current research in the field. Specific topics include: processing spatial information from touch and movement; form, projection, and pictures for the blind; neural substrate and visual and tactile object representations; the role of visual cortex in tactile processing; developments in technology to provide access to computers for those who are blind; and advancements in robotics that demand haptic interfaces. Publisher's web site: 

NCDB : The Research Institute : Western Oregon University : 345 N. Monmouth Ave. : Monmouth, OR 97361
Contact Us: 800-438-9376 |

Tour This Page Website Help
Help for this page

Help Guides & Tutorials