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Development of a questionnaire to measure the product opinions of youth who use AAC devices

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Aim: Better understanding the product needs, preferences and values of youth with complex communication needs may improve the acceptance and continued use of AAC devices. The aims of this study were to develop a questionnaire that measures the product opinions of youth who use AAC and propose a way to evaluate its validity.

Method: Contemporary theoretical frameworks inform thinking about the role of AAC devices and influence of youth’s opinions about devices on functional communication. The Youth Evaluation of Products (YEP) Scale is a generic questionnaire that measures youth’s opinions about devices they use. However, its measurement properties for AAC devices are unknown. While the domains of the YEP scale are relevant to AAC devices, concerns were raised about its item clarity, comprehension, and accessibility for youth with AAC needs.

Results: We modified item wording and added visual supports using Picture Communication Symbols to address potential limitations. We propose to use a mixed methods approach to explore the emerging validity of the YEP for AAC devices (YEP-AAC) scale to evaluate the product opinions of youth AAC users and their parents.

Conclusion: We developed an adapted version of a scale grounded in consumer socialization theory to measure the product opinions of youth who use AAC devices. The YEP-AAC scale may arm clinicians, researchers and product developers with a way to understand communication device features important to youth. This knowledge may help to create AAC interventions that better suit the needs, preferences, and values of young people with complex communication needs.

Author(s):

Holly Surins    
Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto
Canada

Catherine Wojnowska    
Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto

Tracy Shepherd    
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital/Bloorview Research Institute

Anne Marie Renzoni    
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital/Bloorview Research Institute

Stephen Ryan    
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital/Bloorview Research Institute

 

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