It's Not About the Technology, or Is It? Realizing AAC Through Hard and Soft Technologies To many people, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) implementation is synonymous with technologies of various types. For many others, technology is but one, sometimes small, piece of the implementation puzzle. So, is AAC about the technology or not? This paper presents a broad picture of technology as consisting of both ... Article
Article  |   June 01, 2011
It's Not About the Technology, or Is It? Realizing AAC Through Hard and Soft Technologies
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Albert M. Cook
    Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology, University of AlbertaEdmonton, Alberta, Canada
Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Articles
Article   |   June 01, 2011
It's Not About the Technology, or Is It? Realizing AAC Through Hard and Soft Technologies
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, June 2011, Vol. 20, 64-68. doi:10.1044/aac20.2.64
SIG 12 Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, June 2011, Vol. 20, 64-68. doi:10.1044/aac20.2.64
Abstract

To many people, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) implementation is synonymous with technologies of various types. For many others, technology is but one, sometimes small, piece of the implementation puzzle. So, is AAC about the technology or not? This paper presents a broad picture of technology as consisting of both hard and soft technologies. The article supports both types of technology as necessary for successful AAC implementation. For many individuals, hard technologies are necessary to support expressive communication. High-tech hard technologies have many options, but only a few fundamental principles, with truly unique new characteristics rarely being introduced. What does change, however, is the platform upon which the AAC devices are built. Originally, AAC devices were based on simple electronic circuits, then specialized computers, and, finally, general computers. Most recently, smart phones and pad computers have been used as the platform for AAC device functions. In this paper, I contend that it is not the technology that is critical; rather, it is our ability to take advantage of that technology for the benefit of people with complex communication needs.

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