Assessing AAC preferences developmental disabilities-review (summary)

learning disability

What was the aim of the study? The authors reviewed studies that determined the type of AAC that individuals with developmental disabilities preferred.

Why was the paper written? Individuals with developmental disabilities may often benefit from AAC, which puts clinicians, families and users in the position of selecting which type of AAC may best serve individual circumstances. Accounting for the user's perspective is an important step in promoting self-determination and could possibly affect the outcomes of the AAC intervention.

What did the authors do? The authors searched electronic databases, reference lists and journals to locate studies that were appropriate for this review. The authors limited the studies they included in their review to those that included participants with developmental disabilities, determined whether participants expressed a preference for one type of AAC over another and detailed the procedure that researchers used to decide on a participants' preferences.

What did they find? Seven studies met the criteria for inclusion in this review. These studies pertained to twelve individuals with developmental disabilities, aged 2-22 years. The types of AAC included in these studies were speech generating devices, picture exchange systems and manual signing. Most studies taught participants to make requests using AAC.

Six studies, with ten participants, compared preferences only between speech generative devices and picture exchange systems. Half of the participants preferred speech generating devices over picture exchange systems. Three of the ten participants preferred picture exchange systems.

When considering all seven studies included in the review, eight of the twelve participants expressed a preference speech generating devices over picture exchange systems. Four of the twelve participants preferred picture exchange systems. Therefore, participants in this review did express preferences for certain types of AAC over others.

Cautions: These results are based on a very limited number of studies and participants, and most studies compare only two types of AAC. Only one study included manual signing as an AAC intervention. Additionally, these studies only evaluated participants' use of AAC to make requests and did not take a comprehensive view of participants' skills and deficits.

Conclusions: Most individuals included in this review expressed a preference for one type of AAC over another. The preferences of individuals with developmental disabilities who use AAC could be used to inform the decision to use AAC and give these individuals more control over their own lives.

Things you may want to look into:

voice output device (VOCA)

aided communication

unaided communication

Added to site August 2013