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Growing Up With Technology

Does the Device Go in the Middle?

McCarthy, John W.; Boster, Jamie B.

doi: 10.1097/TLD.0000000000000196
Original Articles

The increasing integration of technology into the daily events and social interactions of our society present incredible opportunities for children with complex communication needs (CCN) who rely on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) strategies. Children with CCN who utilize high-tech AAC options at an early age are essentially growing up with a technology that is inserted into interactions across multiple contexts for communication. An aided system can potentially create additional demands, serve a complementary role, or even be a platform to create a collaborative space for social interaction. This article discusses the impact of technology on contexts for communication and presents a progression from unaided AAC strategies to the use of aided systems for fostering expressive language skills and supporting participation. Augmentative and alternative communication strategies offer many possibilities in terms of access to communication; however, where a device is placed both physically and figuratively can make an important difference.

Communication Sciences and Disorders, Ohio University, Athens (Dr McCarthy); and Nationwide Children's Hospital, Main Campus & Lewis Center, Columbus, Ohio (Dr Boster).

Corresponding Author: John W. McCarthy, PhD, CCC-SLP, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Ohio University, Grover Center W218, Athens, OH 45701 (

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

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