Exploring communication technology behaviour of adolescents with cerebral palsy in Singapore
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Communication among adolescents with cerebral palsy can be restricted with traditional Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device coupled with environmental and social barriers. The advance of communication technology offer solutions to reduce such barriers. Given that there is limited research in communication behaviours of adolescents with cerebral palsy using communication technology devices in Singapore, this study investigated the change in behaviour of adolescents with cerebral palsy as a result of using communication technology devices. A total of nine adolescents with cerebral palsy (N = 9, Males = 7 and Females = 2, Age = 14 – 18 years) were recruited from a special school in Singapore. A modified interview questionnaire (Lund & Light, 2007) was administered to determine if communication technology devices changed communication behaviours among adolescents with cerebral palsy. Using a qualitative approach, data were analysed by open and axial coding software, HyperRESEARCH (Hesse-Biber, Kinder & Dupuis, 1990). Four core categories emerged from this study which included (1) Desire and ability to communicate, (2) Navigation of devices (3) online self-disclosure and (4) Devices and applications. Overall, adolescents with cerebral palsy use social media and mobile chat to stay in touch with peers and family for school-related purposes and personal reasons. Based on the findings of this study, the authors suggest that the use of communication devices can expand the social network of adolescents with cerebral palsy.
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