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Quality of Life of Children who use AAC: Child, Sibling, and Caregiver

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The implementation of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is intended to facilitate communication and to improve overall quality of life (QOL) of individuals who have complex communication needs. QOL can be described as an individual’s ability to participate in desired school, home, community, vocational, and recreational activities. Overall QOL improvements have been observed as a result of AAC use by adults. However, little research has been conducted assessing QOL of children who use AAC. This study will assess the QOL of children who use AAC based on comparisons between user self-ratings of their own QOL, sibling self-ratings, and caregiver ratings of the QOL of the child who uses AAC.
Three groups of subjects participated in the study: children who use AAC, their siblings, and caregivers. Approximately 40 subjects participated. Children who use AAC were asked to self-rate their QOL by completing the ASHA - Quality of Communication Life Scale (ASHA QCL). Siblings also completed the ASHA QCL to self-rate their own QOL. Subsequently, caregivers were asked to complete the ASHA QCL to rate their perception of the QOL of their child who uses AAC. Children who use AAC self-ratings will be analyzed to assess the QOL within the group. Sibling QOL self-ratings and children who use AAC self-ratings will then be assessed for similarities and differences between groups. Caregiver ratings of the QOL of their child who uses AAC will be compared to the child’s self-rating. A final comparison will then be made between family unit QOL ratings.

Author(s):

Rebecca Hrad, B.A.    
Fontbonne University
United States

Gale Rice, Ph.D., CCC-SLP    
Fontbonne University
United States

 

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