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Augmentative and Alternative Communication Technology Innovations to Build Skills and Compensate for Limitations in Adolescent Language

Holyfield, Christine; Caron, Jessica

doi: 10.1097/TLD.0000000000000194
Original Articles
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Adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) who also possess limited speech capabilities often display poor language and academic skills in adolescence. However, as with all adolescents, they have personal goals and should have equal access to participation across facets of life including but not limited to education. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) technologies can support individuals with IDD and limited speech in achieving those goals and experiencing greater participation more like their peers without disabilities in adolescence. Augmentative and alternative communication technologies can be applied in intervention with 2 distinct but complementary guiding priorities. First, technology can be applied to compensate for limitations in language form, content, and/or use to support immediate participation in adolescent pursuits for individuals with IDD. Second, technology can be used as a tool to build skills in language form, content, and/or use that have long-term implications for participation and success in adolescence and adulthood. This article outlines applications of AAC technologies within those guiding priorities. In addition, the article outlines case examples in which adolescents with IDD and limited speech have benefited from AAC technologies to compensate for linguistic difficulties and build their language and communication skills.

Department of Rehabilitation, Human Resources, and Communication Disorders, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (Dr Holyfield); and Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Pennsylvania State University, State College (Dr Caron).

Corresponding Author: Christine Holyfield, PhD, CCC-SLP, Department of Rehabilitation, Human Resources, and Communication Disorders, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701 (ceholyfi@uark.edu).

The authors have indicated that they have no financial and no nonfinancial relationships to disclose.

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