iPads, Mobile Technologies, and Communication Applications: A Survey of Family Wants, Needs, and Preferences (short summary)


As the availability of mobile technology and apps increases, and the cost reduces, the researchers used an online survey to investigate what the families of children who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) wanted from technology and the support services around this.

They found that many families had bought, or were considering buying, the AAC system themselves without detailed assessment. Main reasons for purchasing the mobile devices and apps were ease of use and affordability. The families generally wanted more information from professionals about how their children could use apps for communication. Most respondents wanted help to support the child's use of the device for communication purposes, others wanted help with customisation and technical support for the device or app.

The families also wanted devices to have multiple functions e.g. information social and entertainment, in addition to communication.

The researchers conclude that the development of mobile technology presents challenges to established forms of service provision.

There is a danger that the lack of detailed assessment might lead to devices being purchased that are not the 'best fit' for individuals.

There are implications for speech and language therapists particularly, in needing to change their ways of working to support individual families in the choices of systems they have made. It is also important for professionals to maintain up-to-date knowledge of communication apps as they develop in order to offer appropriate support.

Things you may want to look into:

The iPad and Mobile Technology Revolution: Benefits and Challenges for Individuals who require Augmentative and Alternative Communication

The right communication aid?

A Comparison of Communication Using the Apple iPad and a Picture-based System

Added to site August 2015