Thursday, November 1, 2012

Research into Communication Disabilities and Differences Needed

This is the beginning of a post regarding AAC- Augmentative and Alternative Communication research.

More research needs to focus on augmentative and alternative communication. Not just fancy machines and apps, although the current ones are sometimes inadequate.

Research needs to delve into how and why Autistics and other people with disabilities have communication disabilities in the first place. This research into the how and why should have one aim in mind: improving communication access for Autistics who have a wide variety of communication differences, disabilities, and needs.

Research needs to examine how we utilize existing AAC technologies, because we may not use them in the "prescribed manner." Research can focus on people who do not speak at all, people who use other-than-language-based systems, people who can speak but have difficulty with any (or all) of the multitude of tasks involved in speech production.

Research needs push further than simply recording "why" or "how" communication disabilities occur, and include an implementation component, so that the research is made meaningful beyond "Oh, this is why they do that!" (especially in the light of the fact that "why" one person can't talk, or can't talk well, could be far removed from why another person can't).

All research in the area of AAC should include a dissemination and education component, so that typical communicators can more effectively communicate with nontraditional communicators, and have a variety of their own tools with which to approach a nontraditional communicator.

Research on AAC should, without exception, be conducted with close consultation with people who have communication disabilities.

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