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AAC and Education of Persons who are Severely Communicatively Impaired

Key Words: Instructional Strategies, Deaf Education, K-12

Type: Intervention Strategies

Focus: Severely Communicatively Impaired


"Many children who are severely communicatively impaired are educated in regular education settings. AAC services that target functional, educationally relevant outcomes can contribute significantly to the successful integration of these children (Calculator, 1991; Calculator & Hicks, 1987; Calculator & Jorgensen, 1990, 1991; Loeding, Zangari, & Lloyd, 1990; Phipps & Soper, 1992; Rowland, 1990). The following checklist of practices for providing AAC services target these outcomes (Calculator & Jorgensen, 1991, p. 208):

1. Educational priorities should be established collaboratively with parents, advocates, and other team members (as opposed to discipline-referenced priorities).

2. Observation, assessment, and intervention should occur in the natural settings in which individuals spend their time.

3. Functional skills should be taught systematically throughout the day, rather than at designated times.

4. Anyone coming in contact with the augmented communicator is a potential instructor of communication skills.

5. The effectiveness of intervention procedures should be evaluated relative to individuals' performances in their natural settings.

6. Educational plans specify desired communication behaviors relative to clusters of skills associated with the effective performance of a broader skill or activity." (p. 202)


Calculator, S.N. (1991). Best practices in providing AAC services to students with severe disabilities. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Atlanta.

Calculator, S.N., & Hicks, P. (1987). Augmentative communication instruction in the classroom: An integrated approach. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, New Orleans.

Calculator, S.N., & Jorgensen, C.M. (1990). Incorporating AAC instruction in the classroom. Augmentative and Alternative Communication,6, 134-135.

Loeding, B.L., Zangari, C., & Lloyd, L.L. (1990). A "working party" approach to planning service training in manual communication for an entire public school staff. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 6, 38-49.

Phipps, D., & Soper, H. (1992). Augmentative communication program design in the public schools. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, San Antonio.

Rowland, C. (1990). Communication in the classroom for children with dual sensory impairments: Studies of teacher and child behavior. Augmentative and Alternative Communication,6, 262-274.

Silverman, Franklin, H. (1995). Communication for the Speechless (3rd ed.). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Grace Shanafelt/K.S.U. Student/Deaf Ed. Major