High-tech AAC and aphasia: Widening horizons?

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Journal Title: 
TitleHigh-tech AAC and aphasia: Widening horizons?
Publication TypeJournal Article
AbstractBackground: Many people with aphasia are trained to use low-tech AAC strategies (Alternative and Augmentative Communication) to support communication, but high-tech communication aids are introduced only incidentally. The factors influencing success and failure of low-tech AAC are relevant for the development of high-tech communication aids for aphasia. Aims: To review the state of the art in low-tech and high-tech AAC applications for aphasia. Main Contribution: Although there is there is a wealth of knowledge among therapists, there is very little research to support the efficacy of AAC techniques. Many authors stress the heterogeneity of the aphasic population, not only in the characteristics of the aphasia, but also in communicative abilities and needs, cognitive abilities, motivation, and social situation. Therefore, AAC devices should be individualised and "tailor-made", taking advantage of residual language skills and communicative strengths. A common problem is that acquired AAC skills are often not used in daily communication. Several factors may play a role, e.g., lack of motivation, inadequate vocabulary, insufficient training, or cognitive or linguistic limitations. So far, functional use of assistive technology has received relatively little attention, but a portable device with ready-made messages for specific communicative situations appeared to be used in every day life. Conclusions: Computer technology has much to offer for supporting aphasic communication, not only for people with a very severe aphasia, who do not benefit from disorder-oriented Therapy, but also for people with a moderate or mild aphasia. Research into AAC and aphasia, focusing on functional use, is needed in order to build and refine communication aids that are easy to use and can be tailored individually.
Authorsvan de Sandt-Koenderman, Mieke W. E.
Year of Publication2004
Date PublishedMar
ISSN0268-7038 (print), 1464-5041 (electronic)
Publisher DOI
Keywords (MeSH)adult, aphasia, cognition, communication, communication aids for disabled, language, motivation, technology, vocabulary