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International Applications of an Online Community Benefitting Individuals with Complex Communication Needs

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AIM: The Communication Matrix (, available in 7 languages, is used internationally by parents and professionals to assess communication skills in individuals who have complex communication needs (CCN) and who use or may be candidates for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). It serves as a rich database contributing to international research on communication skills. The online community surrounding the assessment creates a shared knowledge base to focus global support for individuals with CCN. As an example, this talk will explore data collected on the communication skills of individuals with deaf-blindness in four countries (United States, Australia, Chile, and Mexico).
METHOD: The Matrix database is mined to provide a portrait of communication in individuals with CCN. The database proves useful in exploring cultural and national differences, creating portraits of communication skills of specific populations with CCN that are presented in the Shared Science section of the web site. In this example, assessments of individuals 0-22 years old with a primary diagnosis of deaf-blindness from four countries are examined.
RESULTS: Analysis reveals that mean Matrix scores for individuals with deaf-blindness vary by country. A one-way ANOVA reveals significant differences in Matrix scores between the four countries (F(3,2241) = 11.827, p<.001).
CONCLUSION: The results show a clear need for a shared knowledge base that crosses international boundaries. A major goal of the Communication Matrix web site is to create a virtual community to improve outcomes for students with CCN by stimulating information sharing between professionals and family members without geographical constraints.


Alexandria Cook    
Oregon Health & Science University
United States

Charity Rowland    
Oregon Health & Science University
United States

Gloria Rodriguez-Gil    
Perkins School for the Blind
United States

Emily Quinn    
Vanderbilt University
United States


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