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The state of AAC in English-speaking countries: results of an online survey

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In the last 6 years the AAC landscape has significantly changed. AAC apps on consumer devices have led to a democratization of AAC, with many individuals obtaining AAC through non-traditional pathways and alternative funding sources. However, knowledge of, and experience with, AAC best practices has not spread at the same pace. A 2012 white paper by Niemeijer, Donnellan and Robledo (2012) revealed that few AAC users and families of AAC users felt they were getting good professional support to implement AAC. In order to get a better understanding of current practices, as well as challenges, an exploratory survey was conducted during AAC Awareness month 2015. Three separate surveys collected relevant information from AAC users (35 respondents), family members of AAC users (182 respondents), and professionals working with AAC users (346 respondents). As an online survey shared through social media the sample is biased towards those people who are actively interested in AAC and thus represents the more knowledgeable segment of AAC users, family members, and professionals. In this presentation we will explore what the results from the survey can tell us about the AAC systems being used, vocabulary types, use of low-tech backups, typical grid sizes used, the level of customization people undertake, the teaching and learning strategies used to support AAC users, the kind of improvements people have observed, the communication functions addressed and the challenges AAC users, families and professionals face in the use and implementation of AAC.

Author(s):

David Niemeijer    
AssistiveWare
Netherlands

Amanda Hartmann    
AssistiveWare
Netherlands

Jennifer Marden    
AssistiveWare
Netherlands

Carole Zangari    
Nova Southeastern University
United States

Kit Albrecht    
AssistiveWare
Netherlands

Jane Farrall    
Jane Farrall Consulting
Australia

 

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