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Augmentative and Alternative Communication: AAC

Elena Dukhovny, YanYan Zhou
Increasing speed and accuracy of communication via a speech-generating device (SGD) is an important clinical goal in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). The current study, conducted with adults without disabilities using a within-subject experimental design, compared the effects of two different SGD trainings on speed and accuracy of locating words via an SGD interface. During size-centered training, participants were introduced to six large icons that completely filled an SGD screen. During location-centered training, participants were introduced to six small icons on a 40-location screen where other icons were hidden...
October 20, 2016: Augmentative and Alternative Communication: AAC
Ensa Johnson, Juan Bornman, Kerstin M Tönsing
Children with significant communication difficulties who experience pain need appropriate means to communicate their pain in order to receive appropriate treatment. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) strategies could be used to enable children to self-report pain. The aim of this research study was to identify the common vocabulary children with typical development use to describe physical pain experiences and develop and socially validate an appropriate pain-related vocabulary list for children who use or could benefit from using AAC...
October 7, 2016: Augmentative and Alternative Communication: AAC
Shakila Dada, Tenille Horn, Alecia Samuels, Ralf W Schlosser
This study examined the attitudes of children with typical development towards an unfamiliar peer with complex communication needs using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems. Specifically, the study aimed to compare attitudes when the peer used mobile technology (i.e., iPad(©) (1) ) with an AAC-specific application (Proloquo2Go™ (2) ) versus a low-technology communication board. A within-group crossover design was utilized involving 78 children. Half of the participants (i.e., Group 1) viewed Video 1 of an unfamiliar peer with complex communication needs in a scripted communication interaction using an iPad with Proloquo2Go followed by Video 2 of the same interaction using a communication board...
August 25, 2016: Augmentative and Alternative Communication: AAC
Yun-Ching Chung, Julia B Stoner
The ultimate goal of AAC provision is to promote students' active participation across settings through interactions involving a variety of partners and functions. To achieve such outcomes, educational teams must collaborate and consider the characteristics of students, their families, and relevant environments during AAC assessment and intervention. To date, AAC team collaboration has rarely been evaluated collectively outside intervention or case study research. In this investigation, a meta-synthesis was conducted to review qualitative studies of perspectives of team members on supporting students who used AAC, ranging in age from kindergarten to post-secondary, in public schools in the United States...
September 2016: Augmentative and Alternative Communication: AAC
Carla Wood, Allyssa Appleget, Sara Hart
This study aimed to describe core words of written personal narratives to inform the implementation of AAC supports for literacy instruction. Investigators analyzed lexical diversity, frequency of specific word use and types of words that made up 70% of the total words used in 211 written narrative samples from children in first grade (n = 94) and fourth grade (n = 117). Across grades, 191 different words made up 70% of the total words used in the 211 written narrative samples. The top 50 words were comprised of content words (64%) and function words (36%)...
September 2016: Augmentative and Alternative Communication: AAC
Karen A Erickson, Lori A Geist
Understanding the characteristics of students with complex communication needs and significant cognitive disabilities is an important first step toward creating the kinds of supports and services required to help them successfully access the general education curriculum, achieve grade-level standards, and improve overall communication competence. The First Contact Survey was designed to collect important information about students with significant cognitive disabilities who were eligible to take the Dynamic Learning Maps™ (DLM(®)) alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards...
September 2016: Augmentative and Alternative Communication: AAC
Michelle C S Therrien, Janice Light
Social interaction is one of the key components of education, yet children with complex communication needs often face social isolation in the classroom, rarely interacting with same-age peers. This study investigated the impact of the provision of an iPad(®) (1) with an AAC app with visual scene displays and a dyadic turn taking training on the number of communicative turns taken by children with complex communication needs in interaction with same-age peers. Two preschool children with complex communication needs and six peers without disabilities participated in this research...
September 2016: Augmentative and Alternative Communication: AAC
Elizabeth K Hanson, Emily Goldhammer, Tanya Bethard
The slower and unnatural timing of speech inherent to speech-generating devices (SGDs) can be a barrier to successful aided telephone calls. The timing of message delivery when using an SGD may vary depending on the type of access method used. We measured the difference in the success rate of telephone calls made with an SGD either using switch scanning or direct selection with eye gaze. The scripted calls, asking for directions, were placed to 100 randomly selected businesses. Analysis showed a statistically significant difference in the success rate between the two conditions, with eye gaze access resulting in more successful calls...
September 2016: Augmentative and Alternative Communication: AAC
Kara F Medeiros, Cynthia J Cress, Matthew C Lambert
This study compared longitudinal changes in mastery motivation during parent-child free play for 37 children with complex communication needs. Mastery motivation manifests as a willingness to work hard at tasks that are challenging, which is an important quality to overcoming the challenges involved in successful expressive communication using AAC. Unprompted parent-child play episodes were identified in three assessment sessions over an 18-month period and coded for nine categories of mastery motivation in social and object play...
September 2016: Augmentative and Alternative Communication: AAC
Kara F Medeiros, Cynthia J Cress
Maternal directive and responsive behaviors were compared for 25 mothers and children with complex communication needs using two types of toys (familiar and unfamiliar toys). Each type of toy play was conducted with and without a single message speech-generating communication device (SGD) programmed to say "more." Rate percentages of coded intervals for maternal directive and responsive behaviors were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVAs. Results indicated that mothers used significantly more responsive behaviors when playing with their own familiar toys than with unfamiliar toys, but no differences in directiveness between types of play...
June 2016: Augmentative and Alternative Communication: AAC
Meredith J Cler, Alfonso Nieto-Castañón, Frank H Guenther, Susan K Fager, Cara E Stepp
Many individuals with minimal movement capabilities use AAC to communicate. These individuals require both an interface with which to construct a message (e.g., a grid of letters) and an input modality with which to select targets. This study evaluated the interaction of two such systems: (a) an input modality using surface electromyography (sEMG) of spared facial musculature, and (b) an onscreen interface from which users select phonemic targets. These systems were evaluated in two experiments: (a) participants without motor impairments used the systems during a series of eight training sessions, and (b) one individual who uses AAC used the systems for two sessions...
June 2016: Augmentative and Alternative Communication: AAC
Beata Batorowicz, Kristine Stadskleiv, Stephen von Tetzchner, Cheryl Missiuna
Little is known about how children with severe motor impairments who use communication aids provide instructions when given control over interaction. In this study, 35 children - 18 who used communication aids and 17 who used natural speech - were videotaped in play-based activities. Both groups successfully instructed partners to build replications of models the partners could not see. The results demonstrate that children using communication aids can also have an active role in play-based activities using language, but that their experience with activities may be limited and their instructions may take longer to give...
June 2016: Augmentative and Alternative Communication: AAC
Gunilla Thunberg, Carl-Johan Törnhage, Stefan Nilsson
Hospitalization is a stressful context for all children and their families, but especially for children with communication difficulties. Effective communication using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) strategies can play a critical role in preparing and supporting everyone involved in such situations to have discussions that minimize insecurity, allow children to express their concerns, and so decrease negative stress and anxiety. However, there is a critical need to identify robust and reliable ways of evaluating the effectiveness of interventions that seek to achieve this aim...
June 2016: Augmentative and Alternative Communication: AAC
Jolene Hyppa-Martin, Dana Collins, Mo Chen, Casey Amundson, Kelli Timinski, Mark Mizuko
This study compared first graders' attitudes toward a peer who used an iPad(®)-based speech-generating device (SGD) versus a non-electronic AAC system, as well as preferences regarding the systems. In all, 115 first graders were randomly assigned to view a video of a peer using either the SGD or the non-electronic system. Participants then completed the Assessment of Attitudes Toward Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AATAAC) and answered preference questions about the systems. Results showed that attitudes toward the peer did not vary significantly as a function of the type of AAC system the peer used...
June 2016: Augmentative and Alternative Communication: AAC
Michelle C S Therrien, Janice Light, Lauramarie Pope
The goals of this systematic review were to investigate studies that implemented interventions to increase or improve peer interaction for children who used aided AAC, to evaluate the strengths and limitations of those studies, and to discuss implications for practice and directions for future research. A systematic search resulted in the identification of 19 studies (56 participants). Studies were coded and summarized in terms of participants, independent and dependent variables, outcomes, and quality of evidence...
June 2016: Augmentative and Alternative Communication: AAC
David J Hajjar, John W McCarthy, Joann P Benigno, Jennifer Chabot
Recreation is an essential part of life that provides enriching experiences that may define one's life course similar to careers or other interests. An understanding of the role of volunteers in active community-based recreational programs can help to generate ways to enhance participation and contribute to additional communication opportunities with people who have complex communication needs. Nine volunteers from two adaptive ski programs and one therapeutic horseback-riding program in the Northeast region of the United States participated in semi-structured interviews...
June 2016: Augmentative and Alternative Communication: AAC
Jennifer Stephenson
This paper describes an intervention to teach the use of the Choiceboard Creator app on an iPad for choice making to a student with autism, severe intellectual disability, and challenging behavior. This app provides flexibility in the number of pictures and blank distractors displayed, produces voice output, shuffles the picture arrangement after each activation, and makes the selected picture more salient by enlarging it once it has been selected. The effectiveness of the intervention was explored using a multiple baseline across three settings...
2016: Augmentative and Alternative Communication: AAC
Nina Klang, Charity Rowland, Melanie Fried-Oken, Sandra Steiner, Mats Granlund, Margareta Adolfsson
The aim of the study was to explore the contents of communication-related goals in individualized education programs (IEPs) for students with complex communication needs. Goals in 43 IEPs were linked to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, Children and Youth version (ICF-CY). The results show that the communication-related IEP goals contain information on multiple domains of functioning in the ICF-CY. However, judging by the amount of codes linked to ICF-CY chapters, the IEPs contain a relatively small proportion of goals that focus on interaction with others, or participation in classroom and leisure activities...
2016: Augmentative and Alternative Communication: AAC
Jessica Caron, Janice Light, Kathryn Drager
Typically, the vocabulary in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) technologies is pre-programmed by manufacturers or by parents and professionals outside of daily interactions. Because vocabulary needs are difficult to predict, young children who use aided AAC often do not have access to vocabulary concepts as the need and interest arises in their daily interactions, limiting their vocabulary acquisition and use. Ideally, parents and professionals would be able to add vocabulary to AAC technologies "just-in-time" as required during daily interactions...
2016: Augmentative and Alternative Communication: AAC
Sarah W Blackstone, Harvey Pressman
Delivering quality health care requires effective communication between health care providers and their patients. In this article, we call on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) practitioners to offer their knowledge and skills in support of a broader range of patients who confront communication challenges in health care settings. We also provide ideas and examples about ways to prepare people with complex communication needs for the inevitable medical encounters that they will face. We argue that AAC practitioners, educators, and researchers have a unique role to play, important expertise to share, and an extraordinary opportunity to advance the profession, while positively affecting patient outcomes across the health care continuum for a large number of people...
2016: Augmentative and Alternative Communication: AAC
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