AAC intervention to build communication, language, and literacy skills with children with complex communication needs… (Light, 2016)

Janice with childLight, J. (2016). AAC intervention to build communication, language, and literacy skills with children with complex communication needs: Advances in the field and future directions. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 32, 238-240.

DOI: 10.1080/07434618.2016.1252947

Excerpts (see article for complete text and references): Although there have been many advances in the AAC field, here I focus on those related to children with developmental disabilities and complex communication needs. What advances have been made to date in AAC interventions for children? And what are the challenges that we need to address to improve outcomes?…

(The) evidence base has established that:

  •  AAC interventions have a positive impact on the communication and participation of children with complex communication needs
  •  AAC interventions result in decreases in challenging behaviors
  •  AAC interventions do not inhibit speech development in individuals with developmental disabilities; in fact, the majority of participants demonstrate gains in speech production subsequent to AAC intervention
  •  AAC interventions benefit infants and toddlers as well as preschoolers and school-aged children
  •  The benefits of AAC intervention extend across children with a wide range of developmental disabilities,
  •  Partners play a key role in AAC interventions for children with complex communication needs
  •  Children with complex communication needs require a range of strategies and techniques to communicate for a variety of purposes across partners and contexts, including unaided systems  and aided systems

Despite the dramatic advances in AAC interventions for children with complex communication needs, there remain many unmet needs and many unanswered questions that require future research and evidence-based practice to advance the field and improve outcomes…

  • How do we improve AAC interventions to better meet the needs and skills of children with complex communication needs?
  • How do we determine which AAC interventions work best for which children, with which partners, in which contexts, at which stages of development?
  • How do we ensure that research is effectively translated to everyday practice in the daily lives of children who require AAC?
  • How do we ensure that all children with complex communication needs and their families receive high quality, evidence-based AAC services?

…With the concerted efforts of researchers, practitioners from multiple disciplines, assistive technology manufacturers, app developers, policy makers, advocates, and most importantly individuals with complex communication needs and their families, we can attain our vision: That all children, including those with the most complex needs, share the same fundamental human needs and fundamental human rights, and therefore should have access to the fundamental human power of communication (Williams, 2000).

Submitted to NARIC database

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