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Gaining Acceptance for Augmentative Communication

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

Type: Intervention Strategies

Topic: Gaining Acceptance

Focus: Severely Communicatively Impaired


"A necessary prerequisite for successful intervention with any augmentative communication strategy is its acceptance by the user, the user's caregivers, and those with whom he or she communicates. A potential user's reservations about a strategy tends to cause the strategy to be used less than it would otherwise, thereby reducing its potential for benefiting him or her. And if caregivers and persons with whom he or she communicates have similar reservations, they are likely to communicate their feelings to the user verbally, nonverbally, or both. Obviously, any negative reactions to attempt to use augmentative communication are likely to discourage its future use (as they would be response-contingent adversive reinforcers) and thereby reduce its potential for benefiting the user." (p. 204-205)

"It is reasonable to assume that potential users, their caregivers, and those with whom they communicate will have some reservations about intervention with augmentative communication. Such reservations could arise from several sources:

The clinician has given up on improving (or developing) the person's speech.

Intervention with augmentative communication will reduce the person's motivation to improve his or her speech.

Using augmentative communication will call adverse attention to the person-that is, make him or her appear abnormal (Allaire, et al., 1991).

The person is a "failure" if he or she has to communicate by means of an augmentative strategy.

Intervention with such a strategy will not significantly improve the person's ability to communicate.

Speech, though defective, is adequate for communication (Allaire, et al., 1991).

The person is not ready for augmentative communication (Allaire, et al., 1991).

Augmentative communication is not as adequate as normal communication (Beukelman & Yorkston, 1989)." (p. 205)


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

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