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Importance of and strategies to support social media use for individuals who use AAC

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Workshop participants will consider strategies to support social media use by people who use AAC utilising UK interview-based research and outcomes of interventions to teach social media skills to young people with communication disabilities in Australia. Barriers and facilitators to social media use including formal literacy training will be explored.
Method: Workshop will utilise a grounded theory of social media use based on interview data from 25 young people who use AAC (M age=20;4, Study 1) and outcomes of personalised in-home training for 14 young people with communication disabilities to learn social media use (M age=14;3, Study 2). Four participants received further support with online mentoring. Quantitative measures, pre and post intervention, measured outcomes and youth and family interviews gathered views/perceptions.
Results: Study 1 – people who used AAC identified benefits of using social media for self-determination, self-representation and enriched social relationships but literacy skills influenced independent use. Study 2 - Participants showed a significant increase in the number of online communication partners following intervention and 12/14 participants attained a T-score of 50 or above on GAS. Participants’ and parents’ perceptions highlighted benefits of increased social connections, improved speech intelligibility and literacy following intervention.
Conclusions: To understand the desire expressed by young people who use AAC to engage with social media and how this is supported by personalised training, workshop participants will consider facilitators and barriers for social media use, explore AAC focused strategies for formal literacy training, and consider social media policy development within educational and residential settings.


Pammi Raghavendra    
Flinders University

Amanda Hynan    
Leeds Beckett University
United Kingdom

Janice Murray    
Manchester Metroploitan University
United Kingdom

Darryl Sellwood    
Flinders University

Emma Grace    
Flinders University


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