Background: Prior to beginning my doctoral program, I completed my B.S. at Marshall University where I was involved in research on symbol iconicity and AAC. I began the combined M.A. and Ph.D. program at Ohio University in 2013, which led to an increased interest in working with individuals with CCN in the university clinic and as part of ongoing research in the AAC lab. Participation in the combined program has supported a variety of my research and teaching opportunities in the area of AAC over the past four years. At this point in my program, I am looking forward to completing my clinical fellowship year, then returning to Ohio University to finish my dissertation.
Current Interests: Two primary areas of AAC have been the focus of my doctoral studies, exploring AAC interface designs to support language development and developing arts-based interventions to support participation. I am especially interested in how new technologies can be integrated with AAC devices to facilitate language development for children. Technologies are constantly changing and I think it is important to continue to explore new avenues and ideas to improve communication outcomes for individuals who use AAC. Additionally, I am interested in how creative art activities can be designed to include children with CCN in interactions with their peers. Creative contexts offer opportunities for language learning and interactions with others and I am currently focusing on how photography specifically may be used for interventions with children with CCN.
Sample Presentation/Publication: A Picture’s Worth 1,000 Words: A Photography Intervention to Increase Participation for Children with Complex Communication Needs. (Presentation as a Handout) This topic is of special interest to me because it has led to further development of a photography-based intervention that will be explored as part of my dissertation. The results of this study are encouraging and support further investigation of how photography activities may benefit children with CCN in terms of fostering language development and participation in interactions with their same-age peers.
Dissertation Chair: Dr John McCarthy
Additional Information: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jamie_Boster
ThinkTank Presentation Topic and Discussion Starters
I will be presenting on my dissertation research, which involves the design and implementation of a collaborative photography intervention for children with CCN and their peers. I will present results of a pilot photography program that has led to the development of the intervention and discuss how elements of collaborative learning can be used to further support children with CCN in interactions with their same-age peers. Photography appears to be a motivating context for children of all ages and I look forward to discussing how such creative avenues can be used to introduce opportunities for both participation and language learning.
- Participation: What variables can we use to measure participation in a meaningful way? Participation interventions can be beneficial however it can be difficult to identify the actions to quantify the impact. Are there questionnaires or other variables that have been used to help capture the benefits and challenges that occur in this area of research?
- Participation and Language: I have struggled with how to support children with CCN in interactions with their peers when their linguistic skills are not well developed. How can we combine opportunities for participation with language learning? Are there better ways to incorporate AAC in activities so that children can access it while remaining engaged with their peers?
- Interface Design: New technologies continue to be introduced; yet many of these do not interface with AAC devices well. Such technologies may support language learning, how can we capitalize on new developments to improve AAC instruction for children with CCN? How can we support their access to mainstream technologies efficiently?