Team Leaders: Janice Light, Christine Holyfield, Erik Jakobs, David McNaughton
AAC Consumer Team: Chris Klein, Tracy Rackensperger
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 (i.e., skills to sound out and read new words) by individuals with complex communication needs.
To support decoding, the app will:
(1) display the written word dynamically, paired with speech output, upon selection of a picture symbol;
(2) highlight each letter in the word in sequence, and play the corresponding sound for each highlighted letter slowly, supporting decoding; and
(3) highlight the entire word, paired with speech output (see Figure R2-1).
Additional discussion of the design of the transition to literacy (T2L) decoding feature (Light, McNaughton, & Jakobs, 2019) is available here.
The RERC on AAC will conduct a series of research studies to evaluate the effects of the T2L decoding features with individuals with complex communication needs across a wide variety of ages and disability groups.