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Experiences of Volunteers and Individuals with Complex Communication Needs: Perspectives Across Settings of Active Recreation

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This presentation describes and integrates two research projects conducted over the past two years. Perspectives from community based volunteers and individuals with complex communication needs (CCN) who use AAC will be shared. The research captures the lived experiences of volunteers who provide support in active recreational settings as well as people with CCN who participate in active recreation. Analysis of the data reveals important information on topics related to participation, engagement, and communication that inform recommendations to enhance the experience. In the first study, 9 experienced volunteers from adaptive ski and therapeutic riding programs participated in semi-structured interviews. In the second study, 5 individuals with CCN who participate in a variety of adaptive sport activities contributed to an online focus group.

As a result of an integration of data from the two studies, primary thematic areas will be shared across topics related to benefits, barriers, supports, and successful programs. Through a collection of rich perspectives and insight gathered from semi-structured interviews and an online focus group, attendees will learn how volunteers reduce participation barriers and how people with CCN access and engage in active recreation. Data from this research will inform the AAC community about different types of active recreational experiences that exist for people with CCN who use AAC and the impact of these activities on other aspects of their lives.


David J. Hajjar    
Ohio Univeristy
United States

John W. McCarthy    
Ohio University
United States


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