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Comprehension, Technology, Research and Practice: Bring it All Together for Students who use AAC

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The gap between literacy research and teaching practice remains a challenge across the educational landscape, yet it presents a particular barrier for teachers who support students who use AAC. This is partly due to societal beliefs about these students. It might also be due to an overwhelming focus on word identification skills at the expense of reading comprehension. It can also be a direct result of the challenges such students face in accessing the general curriculum. Recently, due to some shifts in society and education both, there is opportunity for change. For one, technology has infiltrated classrooms to the extent that any student, including those who use AAC, can gain full access to the curriculum. For another, college and career readiness standards require teachers to provide rigorous and meaningful instruction that aligns every student to their corresponding grade level. Finally, there is a broader shift away from teaching functional literacy and toward helping students develop as more holistic and readers and writers. First, this presentation will identify some of the challenges and opportunities in bridging research and practice in today's educational climate. Next, it will provide a summary of research in the field of reading comprehension as evidenced by the National Reading Panel. Last, the presenter will demonstrate how research informed the instructional design and implementation of curricula, recently developed by TobiiDynavox, which specifically supports reading comprehension.


Maureen Donnelly    
United States


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