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Emerging Identities in Interaction: AAC and stance

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This paper presents findings related to the emergence of identity for an adolescent woman that uses Augmentative and Alternative Communication. It is a secondary analysis of data from a larger discourse-based therapy study. This analysis draws from the fields of disability studies, interdisciplinary definitions of identity, and narrative language development with a particular focus on AAC. It is a qualitative analysis of conversations between the young woman, a peer and a speech-language pathology student that serves as the conversation facilitator.
Throughout the duration of the language therapy, the development of linguistic skills and proficiency with her communication system allowed for a shift from some reliance on unaided strategies such as body language, gesture and sign language to more regular use of her speech-generating device. This paper brings forward evidence of these developments through excerpts of discourse samples and provide analysis as to how these developments in linguistic skills relate to the emergence of identity as found in interactional exchanges. Conversational excerpts were examined for instances of affective and epistemic stance across time. This discussion examines the qualitative changes in topics and complexity across time. This investigation is situated within an understanding of identity as emerging through the principles of emergence, positionality, indexicality relationality and partialness. Within an understanding linked to this framework of identity as complex and developing in interaction, the indexing of affective and epistemic stances becomes the relevant point of inquiry as language development is discussed.


Renee Starowicz    
San Francisco State University and University of California, Berkeley
United States

Gloria Soto    
San Francisco State University
United States


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