Update from the RERC on AAC State of the Science Conference (2018)

On Friday, July 13, 2018, the RERC on AAC held its State of the Science conference in Arlington, Virginia (near Washington, DC). The conference brought together key stakeholders including individuals who use AAC, family members, clinicians, researchers, AT manufacturers, app developers, policy makers, and government personnel.

We wish to thank the many people who participated in and contributed to the State of the Science conference, and special thanks to RESNA for its assistance in making the day such a success.

The day was a busy one, with presentations by Dr Robert Jaeger and Ruth Brannon from NIDILRR, the RERC on AAC partners, and invited speakers, with follow-up discussion with participants (agenda).

Bob Williams and Shelley Chapin

Presentations by the RERC partners addressed research and development in the field of AAC, new challenges and opportunities in AAC, improving access for those with minimal movement, enhancing AAC technology supports for individuals with complex communication needs and their partners, and designing effective AAC interfaces.These presentations have been  prepared for a special issue of the AAC journal, and incorporated feedback from the participants at the State of the Science conference, as well as from RERC on AAC presentations at the RESNA conference.  The following papers will be “free-access” until June 15, 2019.

• Light, J., McNaughton, D., Beukelman, D., Fager, S. K., Fried-Oken, M., Jakobs, T., & Jakobs, E. (2019). Challenges and opportunities in augmentative and alternative communication: Research and technology development to enhance communication and participation for individuals with complex communication needs. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1080/07434618.2018.1556732

• Light, J., McNaughton, D., & Caron, J. (2019). New and emerging AAC technology supports for children with complex communication needs and their communication partners: State of the science and future research directions. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1080/07434618.2018.1557251

• Fager, S.K., Fried-Oken, M., Jakobs, T., & Beukelman, D. R. (2019). New and emerging access technologies for adults with complex communication needs and severe motor impairments: State of the science. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1080/07434618.2018.1556730

• Light, J., Wilkinson, K. M., Thiessen, A., Beukelman, D. R., & Fager, S. K. (2019). Designing effective AAC displays for individuals with developmental or acquired disabilities: State of the science and future research directions. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1080/07434618.2018.1558283

• McNaughton, D., Light, J., Beukelman, D. R., Klein, C., Nieder, D., & Nazareth, G. (2019). Building capacity in AAC: A person-centred approach to supporting participation by people with complex communication needs. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1080/07434618.2018.1556731

We were pleased to be joined at the State of the Science by a number of individuals who use AAC and family members. The presentations by these invited speakers are now available as webcasts, and are posted at  aac-learning-center.psu.edu

The poster presentations from the State of the Science are also available on the RERC on AAC website page. They are grouped thematically below.

Melanie Fried-Oken and Jeff Higginbotham

Brain-Computer Interface

Multimodal access

Transition to Literacy (T2L)

Video Visual Scene Display (video VSD)


Anthony Arnold

Visual cognitive processing demands of AAC displays

Again, our thanks to all for a productive and enjoyable day!

Krista Wilkinson and Bob Williams Tracy Rackensperger and David McNaughton

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