R2: AAC Literacy Decoding Technology

Team Leaders: Janice Light, David McNaughton, Christine Holyfield
AAC Consumer Team: Chris Klein, Tracy Rackensperger, Musar

Challenge and Background Information

  • Literacy skills are essential to full participation in today’s society.
  • More than 90% of individuals with complex communication needs enter adulthood without literacy skills.
  • Individuals with complex needs who are not literate rely on pictures.
  • Current AAC technologies do not support the transition from picture symbols to literacy.
  • RERC on AAC (2014-20) developed an AAC software feature to support the transition to sight word reading.
    • An individual selects a picture symbol
    • The written word appears dynamically and is spoken out
    • 88% of participants increased their literacy skills following exposure to the app.


The new RERC on AAC will investigate the effectiveness of a new app to support the acquisition of decoding skills by individuals with complex communication needs.

Additional Information

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