Addressing Challenges to Success With Students Who Use Augmentative and Alternative Communication in the School Setting Treating students who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) in the schools is both a highly challenging and highly rewarding endeavor. Helping students with limited communication skills become more effective communicators is a time-intensive process that requires the efforts of many individuals. Parents, teachers, physical and occupational therapists, speech-language ... Article
Article  |   June 01, 2005
Addressing Challenges to Success With Students Who Use Augmentative and Alternative Communication in the School Setting
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kate DeBerge Roth
    Assistive Technology Resource Center Chicago Public Schools, Chicago, IL
Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / School-Based Settings / Articles
Article   |   June 01, 2005
Addressing Challenges to Success With Students Who Use Augmentative and Alternative Communication in the School Setting
SIG 16 Perspectives on School-Based Issues, June 2005, Vol. 6, 25-27. doi:10.1044/sbi6.2.25
SIG 16 Perspectives on School-Based Issues, June 2005, Vol. 6, 25-27. doi:10.1044/sbi6.2.25
Treating students who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) in the schools is both a highly challenging and highly rewarding endeavor. Helping students with limited communication skills become more effective communicators is a time-intensive process that requires the efforts of many individuals. Parents, teachers, physical and occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists (SLPs), vision specialists, and others rely on one another’s expertise to develop a system that is most appropriate for the student. The end prize far exceeds any trouble or pain: providing a means of communication for a student who previously struggled to be heard.
As an SLP with considerable background in augmentative and alternative communication, I travel throughout the Chicago Public School system evaluating students for candidacy to use AAC devices. In making recommendations, designing appropriate system setups, and training teams to integrate the equipment into a child’s curriculum, I constantly encounter challenges. The students vary in chronological and cognitive ages. Unique needs and abilities arise with each new referral. There are, however, some underlying issues that contribute to the degree of success a child who uses AAC, regardless of age or cognitive ability, has in communicating effectively in school. These important issues include the interaction of the team, expanding use of the device beyond the “wants and needs box,” and the amount of access and exposure a student has to language in the use of the device.
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