Issue Editor: Back to the Future: Don’t Forget the Knowledge We Have As We Move into the Next Century As the 21st century quickly approaches, it provides us with an opportunity to consider how far we’ve come in the field of developmental disabilities and AAC. When I began practicing in the mid 1970s, children with severe mental retardation were excluded from public school programs, and the use of ... Editorial
Editorial  |   December 01, 1999
Issue Editor: Back to the Future: Don’t Forget the Knowledge We Have As We Move into the Next Century
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Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Editorial
Editorial   |   December 01, 1999
Issue Editor: Back to the Future: Don’t Forget the Knowledge We Have As We Move into the Next Century
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, December 1999, Vol. 8, 2-3. doi:10.1044/aac8.4.2
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, December 1999, Vol. 8, 2-3. doi:10.1044/aac8.4.2
As the 21st century quickly approaches, it provides us with an opportunity to consider how far we’ve come in the field of developmental disabilities and AAC. When I began practicing in the mid 1970s, children with severe mental retardation were excluded from public school programs, and the use of manual signs as an intervention strategy was first being tested. Today, children and adults with developmental disabilities make up a large proportion of the individuals who can benefit from AAC devices and services, yet they are still viewed as an underserved population with respect to AAC.
There has been substantial growth in the field of language and communication intervention with persons with significant mental retardation over the second half of the 20th century. Prior to the 1960s, a child who was diagnosed with significant mental retardation received little or no attention from professionals within communication disorders, because it was thought that the child with mental retardation could not learn and thus would make few gains in speech development (Berry & Eisenson, 1956; Lilly white & Bradley, 1969; Sheehan, Martyn, & Kilburn, 1968). Over these last 40 years, broad changes in social policy have played an important role in expanding and changing the delivery of communication services to children and adults with mental retardation. The social climate generated by federal legislation about education, assistive technology, and civil rights have resulted in the conduct of substantial research and the development of recommended service delivery practices for children and adults with mental retardation. There have been exciting research findings in the area of language and communication that have formed a strong foundation upon which communication intervention has been implemented (e.g., McLean, Yoder, & Schiefelbusch, 1972).
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