Rethinking family (dis)engagement with Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Doak, L. ORCID: 0000-0002-7934-5276, 2021. Rethinking family (dis)engagement with Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs.

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Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is a core component of special education for many children with learning disabilities and/or autism who have minimal or no speech. Much literature focuses on implementation of AAC in the classroom or therapy setting, but less is known about how AAC is used in the family home. Few studies are authored by an AAC parent/researcher with reflection on positionality, power and the advantages conferred by ‘insider’ status. This paper addresses this gap by exploring the perspectives of five families of minimally verbal children on the place of AAC in their child’s home communication. Semi-structured family interviews were transcribed and subjected to Thematic Analysis. Formal AAC practices such as Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and Makaton were found to play a limited role in the children’s home communication. Findings indicate three possible explanations: the emotional and relationship-building dimensions of family communication; the competing priorities of family life with a disabled child; and the child’s existing multimodal communication strategies including the use of household objects. These findings offer a preliminary starting point for understanding the emic perspectives of AAC families and reasons for their convergence/divergence with professional attitudes to AAC; and warrant further investigation in larger-scale studies.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs
Creators: Doak, L.
Publisher: Wiley
Date: 16 March 2021
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Institute of Education
Record created by: Lee Houghton
Date Added: 10 Mar 2021 16:25
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2023 03:00

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