Bridging the gap from values to actions: a family systems framework for family-centered AAC services (short summary)


The importance of family-centred interventions that recognise and acknowledge the differences between families and the roles all family members have to play in the success of input for people with additional needs have been increasingly recognised as important in the delivery of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) services.

Professionals often intend to offer family-centred AAC services but face various and numerous challenges in delivering them.

As a gap exists between the recognition of the need for family-centred practice and actual AAC service delivery professionals need support to establish collaborative family-professional relationships.

This paper had three aims:

  • to propose a theoretical framework to guide AAC services
  • to use research into family views to show the relevance of the framework for AAC services
  • to discuss clinical implications and offer suggestions for family-centred practice in AAC

The paper focusses on a small number of the elements of family systems and ecological systems theory that are most relevant to AAC service delivery. Alongside the theoretical framework some clinical tools are suggested to support professionals implementing family-centred interventions.

The authors produced a theoretical framework showing how family systems theory applies to children who have complex communication needs (CCN

The paper looks at and defines various components (subsystems) and processes that can influence families, discusses the implications of these for children who use AAC and offers suggestions for professionals to support the delivery of family-centred services.

The framework suggests tools/assessments that can lead to improvements in the implementation of family-centred services based on established principles. This should lead to better professional support for children who rely on AAC and their families.

Things you may want to look into:

‘‘It’s got to be more than that’’. Parents and speech-language pathologists discuss training content for families with a new speech generating device

Alternative service delivery models for families with a new speech generating device: Perspectives of parents and therapists

Added to site April 17