Benefits of Advanced AAC Technology Uses to Adults with Acquired Aphasia In 2001, Medicare began reimbursing for speech generating devices (SGDs) provided to persons with aphasia and related disorders. The enabling legislation passed following education and lobbying efforts by disability groups, legal advocates, and ASHA, including members of Division 12, Augmentative and Alternative communication. Adults with acquired aphasia are now ... Article
Article  |   December 01, 2004
Benefits of Advanced AAC Technology Uses to Adults with Acquired Aphasia
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Richard D. Steele
    Lingraphicare, Inc., Oakland, CA
    Computer Science Department, Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA
Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Language Disorders / Aphasia / Articles
Article   |   December 01, 2004
Benefits of Advanced AAC Technology Uses to Adults with Acquired Aphasia
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, December 2004, Vol. 13, 3-7. doi:10.1044/aac13.4.3
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, December 2004, Vol. 13, 3-7. doi:10.1044/aac13.4.3
In 2001, Medicare began reimbursing for speech generating devices (SGDs) provided to persons with aphasia and related disorders. The enabling legislation passed following education and lobbying efforts by disability groups, legal advocates, and ASHA, including members of Division 12, Augmentative and Alternative communication. Adults with acquired aphasia are now eligible, under Medicare Part B, to receive 80% reimbursement of the Medicare allowable cost for an SGD to support and improve functional communication. Secondary or supplemental insurers may substantially defray remaining costs, making advanced AAC technology now a practical, accessible aphasia rehabilitation option for many.
While AAC approaches comprise all augmentative and alternative techniques, natural (e.g., gesture) as well as technology-based, SGDs are specifically devices capable of generating speech output, whether recorded or synthesized. Various advanced SGD technologies are available on the market for adults with acquired aphasia, and each has its distinguishing features and benefits. This article draws on more than a dozen years experience working to provide one of these, the icon-based Lingraphica, to adults with acquired aphasia. The Lingraphica is a portable, easy to operate, adult appropriate, highly stimulating SGD providing an extensive, explorable vocabulary of interactive icons that exemplify their meaning graphically and—when clicked— in speech, text, and often animation as well. From the outset, it was designed expressly to be usable by, as well as beneficial to, persons with aphasia (Steele, 1995). Research and development of its advanced technology began in 1983 under Veterans Administration support. The Lingraphica has been commercially available since February 1991, and reports of its applications and benefits to persons with aphasia have appeared periodically (Steele, Weinrich, Kleczewska, Carlson, & Wertz, 1987; Steele, Weinrich, Wertz, Kleczewska & Carlson, 1989; Aftonomos, Steele, & Wertz, 1997; Aftonomos, Appel-baum, & Steele, 1999; Aftonomos, Steele, Appelbaum, & Harris, 2001; Steele, Aftonomos, & Munk, 2003). Additional information is available on the Web site www.aphasia.com.
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