Date of Award

Fall 2008

Project Type


Program or Major

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Stephen N Calculator


This project examined the communication and overall education programs of 36 students with Angelman Syndrome (AS) whom are being educated in both inclusive and segregated classrooms. The purposes of the this study are to: (1) compile a list of best practices regarding the communication and educational instruction of children with Angelman Syndrome and more generally, children with significant disabilities, (2) to validate these practices with an expert panel, and (3) to socially validate these practices with the subjects' parents. An exhaustive review of the current literature in the areas of inclusive education, Angelman Syndrome Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), and instruction of children with significant disabilities was conducted. Best practices for including this population in general education classrooms were pulled from the literature. From this more general information collected from the review, a checklist of best practices was devised more specific to the communication and overall education of children with Angelman Syndrome. The checklist was validated by an expert panel of six members who had significant experience in the areas of AAC and Angelman Syndrome or children with severe disabilities.

Upon the second and final review by the expert panel, an online survey was created including the 107 best practices that were validated. This survey was sent out to the parents of the subjects asking them to rate on a 5-point Likert scale, the extent to which they felt these items were important for their child irrespective of what was actually currently happening in their program. All practices were rated in the generally favorable to strongly favorable range. The authors hope from these findings to develop and publish a tool that will provide a framework that individuals working in schools can utilize to assess the degree to which their delivery of services meets these best practices that are supported by the literature and can also provide parents with guidelines of what to look for in selecting a quality inclusive program for their child. It may also serve to prompt educators to consider the changes with respect to the way in which they are providing AAC services to their students with significant needs and incorporate parent priorities.