• Perceptions of Working Memory Use in Communication by Users of Speech-Generating Devices

      Thurman, S. Kenneth; Booth, Julie L.; Fiorello, Catherine A.; Goldman, Amy S.; Kessler, Julie Beth (Temple University. Libraries, 2016)
      Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is defined as “all forms of communication (other than oral speech)…used to express thoughts, needs, wants and ideas” (“Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC),” 2012). Working memory is a temporary cognitive process, which briefly maintains and manipulates information while it is being encoded as a part of long-term memory (Engle, Nations, & Cantor, 1990; “Introduction to Working Memory”, 2007). It has been suggested that based upon the unique skill set and needs of users of AAC systems, the design of these systems should reflect knowledge gleaned from the cognitive sciences (Light & Lindsay, 1991) with training and implementation of AAC incorporating an understanding of the cognitive processes impacting memory, learning, and visual processing (Light & Lindsay, 1991; Wilkinson & Jagaroo, 2004). This study sought to examine how users of AAC managed and perceived the cognitive load associated with working memory demands while communicating and what specific strategies and/or design features users of AAC perceived they used during conversation when using AAC. Results revealed an overall large amount of variability in participants’ responses. Length of symbol/word sequences, word prediction, seeing the message as it is being created, attention to the conversational topic, and attempting to remember what their conversational partner said appeared to be judged as having the highest degree of importance for the use of a speech generating device and success and message completion in conversation. Errors in conversational while using a speech generating device and stressors during the conversational process appeared to be most closely related to reported lack of time to create messages and the time it takes to create messages. Users of AAC did not report high frequency of actives attention to the working memory processes and design features.