Improving the Design of Augmentative and Alternative Technologies for Young Children

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If children with significant communication disabilities are to attain the power of language, literacy, and communication early in their development, they must have access to appropriate augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems. AAC technologies for young children should (a) be highly appealing, capturing, and sustaining of their interest; (b) be seamlessly integrated into all aspects of daily living; (c) provide access to the magical power of communication, language, and literacy; (d) be synchronous with children's diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds; (e) be easy for children to learn and effortless for children to use; (f) grow easily and seamlessly with children as they develop; and (g) be efficient for families and professionals to learn, maintain, and develop. The design specifications to realize these requirements may vary across children given the diversity of skills, characteristics, and interests. This article summarizes what we know about young children and AAC technologies as related to each of these requirements and also discusses priorities to improve the design of AAC technologies in order to maximize outcomes for young children with significant communication disabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-32
Number of pages16
JournalAssistive Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 30 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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