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Toward clarification of augmented input techniques for persons with developmental disabilities who use aided AAC

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AIM: When working with clients who use aided AAC, clinicians often recommend that communication partners model use of the client's AAC system when speaking, i.e., provide "augmented input". This presentation provides a systematic review of existing studies regarding the effect of augmented input on communication outcomes in individuals with developmental disabilities.
METHODS: Studies for potential inclusion were identified using a systematic search procedure. Identified studies were screened for inclusion/exclusion by multiple independent raters and inter-observer agreement (IOA) for inclusion was calculated. Inclusion criteria included: (a) augmented input was an independent variable; (b) augmented input was provided as part of a processing study or a treatment study; and (c) participants had a diagnosis of a developmental disability. Data extracted from each of the included studies included terminology, participant characteristics, study/treatment characteristics and dosages of intervention, and study outcomes. IOA was calculated on data extraction for 30% of the studies.
RESULTS: Participants presented with a wide variety of diagnoses and cognitive-linguistic skill levels. There is some evidence that augmented input can improve expressive labeling skills, expressive syntax skills, and single-word receptive vocabulary, but there is a lack of information on phrase- and sentence-level comprehension.
CONCLUSION: Though augmented approaches are routinely used in clinical practice, the research literature investigating their effects lacks cohesion. Recommendations will be provided for future outcome measurement and consistent terminology. If the various approaches to augmenting spoken language input can be integrated and clarified, combinations of existing approaches with new technology paradigms are likely to emerge.


Anna Allen    
MGH Institute of Health Professions
United States

Ralf Schlosser    
Northeastern University
United States

Kris Brock    
California State University, Fullerton
United States

Howard Shane    
Boston Children's Hospital
United States


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