Enhancing the appeal of AAC technologies for young children: Lessons from the toy manufacturers

Janice C. Light, K. D R Drager, Jessica G. Nemser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


If augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems are highly appealing, they may be more likely to be used by children with complex communication needs, may enhance self-esteem, and may facilitate interactions with other children. To date, there has been little attention to design features that might increase the appeal of AAC systems. Reported in this paper is an exploratory study that compared features of AAC technology with those of popular toys for young children, with a view to identifying potential designs that might improve the appeal of the AAC systems. The toys and AAC systems were systematically analyzed with respect to the following features: color, materials, shape, size, weight, movement or action, sound or voices, lights, and themes. Results indicated that there are significant contrasts between the design features of popular toys and those of AAC systems. These differences are discussed with suggestions for potential design modifications for AAC technologies to increase their appeal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-149
Number of pages13
JournalAAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Rehabilitation
  • Speech and Hearing


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