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Systematic review of educator-reported outcomes for young people who use AAC in school activity settings

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Aim: Successful integration of an AAC system into a student’s life at school may be influenced by many contextual factors that may support or hinder functional communication. Factors may include whether the school team can effectively support and maintain the device, and whether the device meets teacher expectations for greater communicative independence both in academic and peer interactions. We conducted a systematic review to identify candidate educator-report functional outcomes and contextual factors that could influence outcomes associated with interventions for children and youth who use AAC at school.

Method: The systematic review assessed the breadth of AAC outcomes and contextual factors possible for school activity settings. Over 300 titles and abstracts were screened following a multipurpose key word search of OVID Medline, PsychINFO, and the US Department of Education’s Education Resource Information Center.

Results: The review yielded 30 relevant peer-reviewed articles relating to AAC outcomes in schools published since 2001. Our review did not locate a single, comprehensive educator-report AAC questionnaire that detected real-world outcomes. However, we identified 22 unique theoretical dimensions that mapped to functional and contextual domains of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health for Children and Youth.

Conclusion: This review provided a comprehensive inventory of candidate functional and contextual dimensions that may be important to consider for evaluating the effectiveness of AAC interventions in school settings. This work will seed the early and systematic development of a sound educator-report measure of the functional impact of AAC interventions in this key environment.

Author(s):

Stephen E. Ryan    
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
Canada

Tracy A. Shepherd    
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
Canada

Anne Marie Renzoni    
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
Canada

Danielle D'Alessandro    
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
Canada

Elizabeth Cambridge    
University of Toronto
Canada

 

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