AAC Use by Young Children at Home This study describes AAC availability and use in 55 young children in the United States. The children, aged 15 to 75 months, had not yet started kindergarten, had used their latest AAC system for 6 to 24 months, and had a variety of developmental disorders resulting in a severe communication ... Article
Article  |   April 01, 2010
AAC Use by Young Children at Home
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mary Jo Cooley Hidecker
    Department of Speech-Language Pathology, University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR
Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Articles
Article   |   April 01, 2010
AAC Use by Young Children at Home
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, April 2010, Vol. 19, 5-11. doi:10.1044/aac19.1.5
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, April 2010, Vol. 19, 5-11. doi:10.1044/aac19.1.5
Abstract

This study describes AAC availability and use in 55 young children in the United States.

The children, aged 15 to 75 months, had not yet started kindergarten, had used their latest AAC system for 6 to 24 months, and had a variety of developmental disorders resulting in a severe communication disorder. The primary caregivers, all mothers, completed an 81-question case history about demographics, child's age at diagnosis and AAC receipt, and current AAC availability and use at home. They reported that the children waited an average of 6 months between a diagnosis and acquisition of their first AAC system. Forty children (73%) had received a different AAC system since acquiring their first AAC system. Most had multimodal AAC systems, which included both aided and unaided components, although 11 had used only the unaided AAC system of sign language. More than half of the AAC systems included voice output components. Sign language was the most frequently used AAC within the children's homes. The primary caregivers reported satisfaction with their children's AAC systems. Additional research is needed to describe current AAC practices with young children. These practices should then be evaluated for their effectiveness on both short- and long-term outcomes.

Acknowledgments
Gratitude is extended to the family members and to the professionals and organizations who participated or otherwise assisted in this research, and to Betsy Bizot, Pam Harris, Gail O'Lesky-Villarruel, Amyn Amlani, Johanna Boult, David Medei, Diane Ogiela, Robin Pulford, Greg Robinson, and Deborah Stuart for their insights. In addition, my dissertation advisors Rebecca Jones, Jill Elfenbein, John Eulenberg, David Imig, Ida Stockman, and Francisco Villarruel provided critical input. This research was supported in part by a predoctoral fellowship from the National Institutes of Health-National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIH-NIDCD F31-DC05443)
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