CM2021 International AAC Conference
How might AAC technologies be designed differently to
support interactions involving children with severe
speech and physical impairments?
Ibrahim, Seray - Author; Clarke, Michael - Co-Author; Vasalou, Asimina - Co-Author
Best Research Evidence
Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) technologies already transform
children’s lives by providing the option of speech through digital means and by offering a
variety of language displays, input methods and hardware configurations. Interaction design
and multimodal interaction research shows that we can extend the capabilities of these
technologies by critically considering the roles that AAC technologies can take during in-
person interactions. Based on empirical qualitative research involving children with severe
speech and physical impairments, we share four ideas for designing augmentative and
alternative communication technologies by: 1. respecting children's expertise and agency; 2.
supporting child-initiated communication; 3. regulating the orderings of communication
modes and social structures, and; 4. advancing involvement through play. The insights that
are discussed will be of interest to AAC industry, education and therapy practitioners who
have a role in designing AAC interventions, as well as to people who use AAC.