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Technology, AAC Application and Community Inclusion in Thailand and South East Asia

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Recent mobile technology has open up the possibility of children obtaining AAC system in the majority of developed countries. This was not the case of countries in South East Asia and Thailand in particular. AAC is a new and unknown concept hence not readily embraced by the majority of practitioners in Thailand. Family often has limited resources, guidance and knowledge on obtaining and implementing communication skills using AAC.

According to Beukelman and Miranda’s participation model (1993), people with Complex Communication Needs (CCN) face both Access and Opportunity barriers in Thailand. The lack of the communication aids/systems is a predominant Access barrier. In Thailand, there are only 2 communication applications on Android systems available. The low technology options are also limited. Moreover, most families have difficulties financially therefore AAC system appeared to be a luxury rather than a necessity. Opportunity barrier stems from limited education opportunities, the rights to be included in school and limited awareness of the right to speak. Families with limited income, their pressing daily issue is more around obtaining enough food to feed the family, so speaking to families about facilitating their children’s communication needs to happen within a context that helps building family capacity.

By having an AAC application that can be demonstrated during parents and teachers training using hands-on activities with AAC users, helped their parents, teachers and carers see how AAC systems might be beneficial. Following outcomes were families and staff are more willing to implement and develop low-tech AAC systems as a backup.

Author(s):

Nitha Ungsuprasert    
Communication Literacy Universal Education Centre
Thailand

 

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