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Taking the Pulse of Augmentative and Alternative Communication on iOS

  • David Niemeijer (AssistiveWare)
  • Anne M. Donnellan

The paper reports on the use of AAC apps on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch – discussing use levels, benefits and challenges.


The paper is based on an online survey held earlier this year in which a total of 17 AAC users, 97 family members, caregivers and friends of AAC users, and 116 professionals working with multiple AAC users were asked about past communication practices, current communication practices, device use, and benefits observed of the use of AAC apps.


  • majority of respondents reported improvements in communication with others, independence, behavior and well-being since starting to use an AAC app;
  • about half reported improvement of verbalization and speech;
  • minority reported receiving professional support to effectively implement AAC;
  • acceleration of AAC adoption.


Adoption of AAC use on iPad is rapidly accelerating. Many positive impacts are observed by users, family members and professionals, but there are also some serious challenges. There appear to be too few professionals to support all these new AAC users effectively and as a result the potential of many AAC users to access a fuller range of communication functions is as yet insufficiently tapped.

Level of Session 
Age Group 
All Ages