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Beyond the eyes

The development of a dynamic assessment procedure to measure the communication potential of people with congenital deafblindness
PhD ceremony:Ms E. Boers
When:April 02, 2015
Supervisors:prof. dr. H.J.M. (Marleen H.J.M.) Janssen, prof. dr. A.J.J.M. (Wied) Ruijssenaars, prof. dr. A.E.M.G. (Alexander) Minnaert
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Behavioural and Social Sciences
Beyond the eyes

Imagine. You can hear and see little to nothing. To make developmental progress you are depending on the people around you: parents, teachers, caregivers, peers, and family. They experience, however, huge problems in communication and are therefore highly in need of accurate support to communicate with you properly. To support your progress, they require an intervention. A prerequisite for accurate intervention is an appropriate assessment that meets your disabilities, that includes your familiar communication partners so you don't feel afraid, and that focuses on the things you are capable of instead of your weaknesses.

This dissertation describes the development and effectiveness of a dynamic assessment procedure as an appropriate approach to measure the communication potential of people with congenital deafblindness. It emphasizes the key-elements of dynamic assessment for people who are communicating at a prelinguistic level, as many people with congenital deafblindness do. It also shows the importance for developing a new, reliable, measurement instrument to assess abilities that are important in both persons with congenital deafblindness and their communication partners so as to ensure high-quality communication. This study resulted in the Interaction and Communication Analysis List (ICAL). By adding teaching sessions to the ICAL, a dynamic assessment procedure originated and has been pilot tested.

This study reports on the ICAL as being a reliable measurement instrument that can be used for pre- and retesting in dynamic assessment. Furthermore, the results show that the dynamic assessment procedure makes it possible to disclose hidden communication potentials. This first step in the field of dynamic assessment in people with congenital deafblindness is a promising step forward!