Layered communication development: the creation of a model that can describe, monitor and improve intersubjective communication between people with congenital deafblindness and others

Kirsten Wolthuis

    Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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    Because of the differences in residual hearing and vision, people with congenital deafblindness (cdb) form a heterogeneous population, which shows (amongst other things) in this use of varying forms of communication (e.g. (tactile) sign language, (tactile) pictograms, signs supported by spoken language). This makes it difficult for teachers and caregivers to properly describe, monitor and improve communication. For these purposes, the layered communication model was formed, based on the theory of innate intersubjectivity (Bråten & Trevarthen, 2007). This model describes different communicative behaviors at three layers of development. The theory emphasizes the importance of both communication partners, which matched the reliance of people with cdb on others in communication. The current thesis shows that the model can be beneficial in describing the communication level between people with cdb and others by coding the frequency in which the behaviors occur in video recordings. Subsequently, the model can be used to monitor development, when the coding is repeated at different moments. Finally, the model showed to be useful in improving communication during intervention studies. The model helps to discover infrequently present behaviors, which can be targeted to improve their presence. Video feedback coaching showed to be more effective than when teachers and caregivers assessed their own targets. Given the exploratory nature of these studies, more research is needed to determine if and how self-assessment can be used to improve communication as well. The most important result is that the model can be used to support and improve communication at all three layers of development.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Janssen, Marleen, Supervisor
    • Minnaert, Alexander, Supervisor
    • Bol, Gerard, Co-supervisor
    Award date3-Jun-2021
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

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