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Pushing AAC Beyond the Status Quo

  • Sarah Blackstone

The future success and relevance of AAC may require us to begin thinking differently about what we do and how we do it. Most people with complex communication needs do not have access to the AAC strategies and technologies they need, and even those who do may not be able to use these tools in ways that make a meaningful difference in their daily lives. Certainly, some individuals who rely on AAC are fully engaged and active participants in their families, schools, neighbourhoods, communities and worksites (locally and virtually). These individuals can access and use AAC tools and mainstream technologies to express their authentic selves and take on meaningful societal roles. While we should enthusiastically celebrate each success-to-date, we “ain’t done yet.”

This session will suggest a need to catapult ourselves beyond the current unsatisfactory status quo by adopting and adapting key principles, ideas and methodologies with origins outside our own field. One prime example, the field of ‘social networks,’ may enable us to deepen and “re-contextualize” the way we think about and set goals for our interventions. Other examples are from ‘psycholinguistics,’ which can broaden how many today conceptualize language and communication, and from the area of ‘knowledge translation,’ which challenges contemporary research, service delivery, dissemination and training practices.

Level of Session 
Age Group 
All Ages