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Parent-reported effectiveness of AAC interventions for youth: A systematic review of outcome measures

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Aim: The aim of this review was to: (i) identify parent-report measurement tools used to assess the functional outcomes of AAC interventions in youth (<18 years); (ii) assess the psychometric properties of these measures; and (iii) describe the functional and contextual categories of the measures as informed by the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health for Children and Youth (ICF-CY).

Method: An electronic database search for English, peer-reviewed articles published after 2001 was conducted using MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and CINAHL. Each source was reviewed for relevancy based on inclusion criteria: (i) children <18 yrs who needed or used aided AAC devices or systems; (ii) measurement tools assessed functional outcomes from the perspective of the caregiver; and (iii) sufficient information was provided to understand tool subject matter. Data regarding study source, measurement properties, and type of AAC intervention were extracted using a common table.

Results: Eleven articles met inclusion criteria after screening 2,918 articles. Participants’ diagnoses, methodological design, and AAC interventions varied across studies. Tools meeting inclusion criteria included 3 standardized assessments, and 3 non-standardized questionnaires and interviews. The standardized questionnaires measured Body Functions, Activities and Participation, and/or Contextual components of the ICF-CY.

Conclusion: This review revealed candidate parent-report questionnaires that may be used to measure functional outcomes of AAC interventions for younger children. Further evidence is needed regarding their responsiveness to important change and clinical utility before recommended for routine use in AAC clinical practice. The development of sound measures for older children and youth is indicated.


Amie Kron    
Bloorview Research Institute

Stephen Ryan    
Bloorview Research Institute


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