Academic Commons

Theses Doctoral

Augmented Input and the Classroom Communication Environment for Learners with Deafblindness

Brady, Loretta Elizabeth

Group-level differences in classroom language environments were analyzed to better understand implementation of best practices with learners with deafblindness (DB), and whether state certification practices, student characteristics or specialized training related to differences in adult language modeling. Participants came from four states with three distinct teacher certification policies. Data was collected from 15 teacher-student dyads through behavioral coding of videotaped language samples from classrooms, teacher surveys and Communication Matrix assessments. In our sample, teachers used verbal communication significantly more than additional classroom staff. Teachers in a state that required a severe/ profound certification used significantly higher rates of visual communication. These teachers were also the most likely to match their students’ expected receptive modalities. Classroom staff in a state with interveners used significantly more tactile communication with learners. Overall, teachers were more likely to match their students’ expected receptive modalities when the students had higher levels of communication. The students with DB were highly heterogeneous and there was no association between level of dual sensory loss and students’ expressive communication levels. Discussion focused on whether our current use of communication modalities are sufficient, or whether more diverse language modeling (i.e., augmented input) would be beneficial in classrooms with learners with DB. These quantitative results can empower teachers to advocate for the use of specific communication modalities, such as American Sign Language, and trained personnel, such as interveners, in their districts.


  • thumnail for Brady_columbia_0054D_15146.pdf Brady_columbia_0054D_15146.pdf application/pdf 2.15 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Intellectual Disabilities-Autism
Thesis Advisors
Jahromi, Laudan
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 24, 2019