From the Coordinator This issue of Perspectives on A AC is focused on early intervention and AAC and is based on the presentations and focus group sessions from the January 2004 Division 12 Leadership Conference. The Conference for AAC has had a similar structure during the past 5 years. This structure has included ... Coordinator's Column
Coordinator's Column  |   September 01, 2004
From the Coordinator
Author Notes
Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Coordinator's Column
Coordinator's Column   |   September 01, 2004
From the Coordinator
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, September 2004, Vol. 13, 1-3. doi:10.1044/aac13.3.1
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, September 2004, Vol. 13, 1-3. doi:10.1044/aac13.3.1
This issue of Perspectives on A AC is focused on early intervention and AAC and is based on the presentations and focus group sessions from the January 2004 Division 12 Leadership Conference. The Conference for AAC has had a similar structure during the past 5 years. This structure has included a brief overview of the issues followed by in-depth presentations by professionals with expertise in the topic area. These presentations are followed by focus group discussions, which are facilitated by individuals from the AAC or related fields. All participants in the conference are active members in one of the focus group discussions and each focus group presents their findings on the final day of the conference. This year Mary Ann Romski and I provided the overview of the issues in early intervention and AAC. Early intervention was defined using the definition from Part C of IDEA (PL105-17, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, 1997), which mandates developmental services for infants and toddlers in order to enhance their development and minimize their potential developmental delay. Specific requirements that must be addressed in early intervention according to IDEA include: (a) offering a wide range of diagnostic medical services, (b) providing diagnostic and intervention developmental services, (c) providing services in the natural environment whenever possible, (d) involving family directed assessment of resources, priorities, and concerns, and (e) developing an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) with specified outcomes by a service coordinator and the family. These basic requirements were then discussed in relation to services for children who need augmentative-alternative communication (AAC). Specifically, the presenters challenged the participants to focus on how AAC could be used to facilitate language acquisition, social interaction, and eventually speech development. In addition, the presenters identified several “myths” (e.g., AAC as a “last resort” intervention strategy) about early intervention and AAC that need to be addressed during consultations with parents and early interventionists. The introductory session also provided a list of questions that needed to be addressed throughout the conference including the following:
  • What is the role of language development and AAC and issues of comprehension versus production?

  • What types of measurement tools are available for professionals working with children who present significant communication difficulties at the earliest stages of development?

  • What is the role of families in the early intervention process and how does the implementation of an AAC system affect that role?

  • What is the role of the natural environment in the AAC early intervention process?

  • Do we have effective, empirically validated intervention strategies?

  • What is the role of AAC technology in early intervention?

  • What effect does the transition from early intervention to preschool have on child development? and

  • What types of pre-service and in-service training is needed for the implementation of effective AAC early intervention services?

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