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Speech Pathology Student Morgan Receives Award at 2013 Graduate Scholars Forum

Dottie Morgan, a master's degree student in the Speech-Language Pathology program, received third prize for the College of Education and Educational Technology posters and presentations at the IUP Graduate Scholars Forum on Wednesday, April 3, 2013.

Morgan's poster was entitled "Efficacy of Color and Spatial Cues for Augmentive and Alternative Communication Boards" and described the outcomes of a research investigation she conducted for her master's thesis.

Her study examined how preschool-age children identify emotion pictures and whether two types of visual cues, color cues and spatial cues, help to increase accuracy and/or rate of picture identification. The study looked further at whether teaching children the cues could have an immediate effect on their accuracy or response time.

Currently, speech-language pathologists commonly use color and/or spatial cues on augmentative and alternative (AAC) communication boards and devices, which are used with children who cannot communicate effectively using speech alone. However, there is inconsistent evidence supporting the use of these visual cues. Forty-four children who were typically developing participated in the study.

Results revealed that the addition of the visual cues did not increase children's accuracy for locating emotion icons or significantly decrease their response time. In addition, the teaching episode was not sufficient to result in statistically significant changes in accuracy or response time. The findings indicate that we should question the usefulness of these types of visual cues on AAC devices.

Morgan's faculty advisor was Lisa Hammett Price, associate professor in Speech-Language Pathology.

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