Pediatric Augmentative and Alternative Communication Part 1: Introduction

presented by John McCarthy

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Technology is always changing and it can be daunting to stay current while also trying to work with the complex needs of children with severe communication impairments. There are some basic principles underlying technology and service delivery that can help the landscape be more manageable. This course will present an overview of the key terminology and scope to work with any child whose speech is not adequate to meet his or her daily communication needs.

This is part one of a three part series covering Pediatric Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Be sure to watch:
Pediatric Augmentative and Alternative Communication Part 2: Assessment
Pediatric Augmentative and Alternative Communication Part 3: Intervention

Meet Your Instructor

  • John McCarthy, PhD, CCC-SLP

    John McCarthy, PhD, CCC-SLP

    John McCarthy is an Associate Professor and the Associate Director of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Ohio University. He teaches courses on AAC, interprofessional education, preprofessional orientation, language development, and introduction to communication disorders. His research interests include developing better computer user interfaces and expanding the creative possibilities for children and young adults with complex communication needs. Experiences as a school-based SLP, a background in voice performance, and an interest in technology have been major influences in his career. Currently he is part of Ohio's Medicaid Technical Assistance and Policy Program (MEDTAPP) Healthcare Access Initiative (HCA) to improve interprofessional education outcomes with a focus on technology tools.

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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  1. What, Who, and How Much? The Purpose of Communication and Roles for AAC

    1. What, Who, and How Much? The Purpose of Communication and Roles for AAC

    Learning about what AAC is and who uses it is essential for building the knowledge and skills necessary for AAC assessment and intervention. Understanding the prevalence of AAC further emphasizes the need to be familiar with assessment and intervention strategies for AAC. Before implementing assessment or intervention for AAC, it is important to understand the purposes of communication and the roles for AAC. This chapter introduces the four purposes for communication and the roles for AAC in communication.

  2. Categories of AAC

    2. Categories of AAC

    The field of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) can be divided into two broad categories. It is important to understand and recognize the difference between categories of AAC in order to have competence regarding types of AAC systems, accompanying device codes, and user access to AAC.

  3. Fundamental Models, Communication Needs, and The Communicative Competence Model

    3. Fundamental Models, Communication Needs, and The Communicative Competence Model

    The process of providing intervention with AAC is complex and multi-dimensional. Models have been developed by researchers in the field to help structure the assessment and intervention process. Three fundamental models of AAC exist. The Communicative Competence Model is based on 2nd language learning and also considers the technical skills required to operate AAC systems. Communicating via AAC has its own complications, particularly for children who are still acquiring language.

  4. Language Development and the Pediatric AAC Population

    4. Language Development and the Pediatric AAC Population

    In the pediatric population it is important to remember that children don’t have language that just needs to be “unlocked” with AAC. They are still learning language. They may spend more time in stages of language development that are covered within the first year for children without disabilities.