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“Happy and excited”: Perceptions of using digital technology by young people who use AAC

Session 
8.6b
Research Stream
  • Amanda Hynan (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Summary

This paper will present the final data analysis from my research project with young people aged 14-25, who use AAC, about their perceptions and experiences of using digital technology and online social media.

Method/Activities/Techniques

A qualitative research methodology was used to collect data through semi-structured face-to-face interviews and email exchanges with young people aged 14-25 who use AAC. The participants were either in mainstream or special educational settings or had recently transitioned into the adult community.

Results/Findings

Data is in the final analysis stage and themes emerging show a positive interest in using the internet and online social media with perceived support for communication, friendships, interests, hobbies and independence. There are many challenges for enabling access to technology but valuable sources of support are family, friends and educational settings.

Conclusions

This research shows a strong desire among young people who use AAC to use the internet and online social media. Evidence is important for people who use AAC, their families, professionals and organisations when seeking to justify the funding of equipment and will be increasingly relevant to ensure the recommendation of The Clinical Advisory Group for Prescribed Services Report (DoH, 2012) that VOCAs should be nationally commissioned from April 2013 becomes a reality.

Level of Session 
2
Age Group 
Adolescent
Interest 
9