Purpose: Ensuring equitable access to augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) intervention services for children with complex communication needs (CCN) is crucial. Evidence suggests that racial disparities exist in access to communication interventions, disadvantaging Black children. However, no research has investigated specifically the evidence for racial disparities in AAC services for children with developmental disabilities and CCN. Method: The current study applied post hoc data analysis methods within a preexisting, open-access data set to explore preliminary evidence of racial disparities in AAC intervention. Amount of AAC intervention was compared for Black versus white1 preschool students at study initiation (Mage = 3;8 [years; months]) and 2 years later at study completion (Mage = 5;10). Results: Black preschool students were reported to receive significantly less AAC intervention per week as compared to their white peers, both at study initiation and 2 years later. By study end, 75% of the Black children were receiving less than 60 min of AAC intervention per week, an inadequate amount to achieve meaningful gains given their significant disabilities. Conclusions: It is unclear what mechanisms may contribute to the observed dis-parities; however, it is critical that concrete steps are taken by individual speech-language pathologists, school districts, preservice preparation programs, and researchers to identify inequities in AAC services and take actions to rectify them. Future research is essential to investigate the potential factors contributing to inequalities and determine effective interventions to address them.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Linguistics and Language
- Speech and Hearing