Purpose: Successful adoption and use of aided augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) must address how to promote fluid, efficient, and orga-nized execution of the motor behavior needed to access the AAC system. A substantial number of people who use AAC have significant motor impairments and require “alternative” access options, such as eye gaze or switch use. Such individuals may be particularly vulnerable to interference from a poorly designed system. However, the inherent demands of alternative access methods have received little direct study. The goal of this tutorial is to offer a clinically and the-oretically guided framework for considerations concerning AAC access, with the hope of spurring further discussion and empirical research. Method: A framework that draws upon dynamic systems theory was used to illustrate the interactions between the various elements of importance to AAC access. Information and research from the fields of motor learning, developmental dynamic systems theory, AAC, and assistive technology was integrated into this tutorial to examine their applications for alternative AAC access methods. Results: The framework illustrated that AAC access involves a complex coordi-nation between individual skills, the demands of the communication environ-ment, the activity being undertaken, and the supports and demands inherent in the AAC system itself. Conclusions: Awareness of the many demands that alternative forms of access place on the person who uses them can guide clinicians during assessment and intervention decision making regarding access options for individuals with significant motor impairments. Specific directions for future research are considered.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Linguistics and Language
- Speech and Hearing