Enabling Development and Participation through Early Provision of Augmentative and Alternative Communication

By Topia, Mahoney; Hocking, Clare | New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy, April 2012 | Go to article overview

Enabling Development and Participation through Early Provision of Augmentative and Alternative Communication


Topia, Mahoney, Hocking, Clare, New Zealand Journal of Occupational Therapy


"The silence of speechlessness is never golden. We all need to communicate and connect with each other--not just in one way, but also in as many ways as possible. It is a basic human need, a basic human right. And much more than this, it is a basic human power."

(Williams, cited in Beukelman & Mirenda, 2005, p. 3)

This quote brings to the fore the importance of communication, eloquently explaining the intrinsic human need and desire for communication and giving insight into a life in which it is lacking. It is extremely difficult to imagine life without the ability to speak and be heard, to establish closeness with others through shared experience and social interaction. However, health and educational services appear to neglect the importance of being able to communicate effectively, compared to the emphasis given to trying to improve the physical status of people with disability. While research into occupational therapists' engagement with communication disorders is lacking, the profession is uniquely placed to recognise and advocate for the role communication plays in all aspects of participation.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is a means of enhancing communicative ability that offers exciting, new possibilities. The American Speech--Language--Hearing Association defines AAC systems as having "four components (symbols, aids, techniques, and/or strategies) incorporated to enhance an individual's communication. AAC aids include: communication books, communication boards, charts, mechanical or electronic devices including those that speak, and computers" (Reichle, Beukelman, & Light, 2002, p. 2). AAC examines ways in which people with limited vocal ability can extend their communicative repertoire by supplementing or replacing spoken words. There is accumulating evidence that with recent advancements in AAC technology, people with communication issues can overcome barriers to effective communication, which is vital to enabling participation in occupation, creating relationships and establishing themselves as participants in society.

The discussion below presents the contribution communication makes to health and well-being, and participation in life. It then profiles AAC users, before presenting the evidence supporting AAC use. Accumulating knowledge of AAC provision for children and adults is outlined and future developments considered. The article concludes with a plea to therapists to advocate for AAC for clients with communication needs.

Communication for well-being

Communication is multimodal (Higginbotham, Shane, Russell, & Caves, 2007); it is a highly complex capacity that is required by humans to "be" in the world (Latham & Miles, 1997). If we accept that communication is a vital component of participating in occupation, then lacking the ability to communicate must have a detrimental effect on health and well-being. That assertion is supported by The World Health Organization's (WHO) 2001 publication, The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), which proposes relationships between communicative capacity, body structures, factors in the environment and participation. The ICF represented a paradigm shift in the way professionals view health and disability, moving away from the impairment based approach of disease to a performance based view of health and functioning (McCarty & Morress, 2009). The ICF is accepted by many as an all encompassing theoretical framework for describing people's health and well-being.c

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

In this model, an individual's functioning in a specific domain can be conceptualised as influenced by health condition, environmental and personal factors. As a dynamic relationship exists between these entities, intervention to change any factor, domain, structure or condition creates the possibility of affecting other aspects (WHO, 2001). Viewed from this perspective, the goal of AAC is to overcome activity limitations and reduce participation restrictions. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Enabling Development and Participation through Early Provision of Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.