- AAC Strategies for Individuals with Moderate to Severe Disabilities by S. S. Johnston, C. Reichle, K. M. Feeley, and E. A. Jones
The academic and social success of individuals with moderate to severe disabilities is related to their access to effective methods of communication. The use of various forms of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) has been shown to be an effective and efficient communication method for many individuals with severe disabilities in communicating with their family members, friends, and others. Recently proposed revisions of Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Initial and Advanced Role Content Standards for the Preparation of Special Educator extend the emphasis on special educators’ familiarity of AAC systems and assistive technologies to support and enhance communication of individuals with disabilities. An advanced methods book on AAC strategies is therefore timely in providing comprehensive and resourceful information on how various AAC strategies can be effectively designed and instructed to individuals with moderate to severe disabilities. This book mainly emphasizes effective procedures in establishing functional communication for individuals with “intellectual delays,” “physical disabilities,” and “Autism.”
AAC Strategies for Individuals with Moderate to Severe Disabilities is edited by Susan S. Johnston and Joe Reichle, faculty members at the University of Utah and the University of Minnesota respectively and experts in AAC, Kathleen M. Feeley, faculty member specializing developmental disabilities at Long Island University, and Emily [End Page 168] A. Jones, faculty member having clinical and educational expertise in applied behavior analysis (ABA) at Queens College, City University of New York. The authors and contributors of the book are qualified to offer special educators and speech-language pathologists an advanced a book that provides an overview of AAC and instructional methods addressing individuals with moderate to severe disabilities. The purpose of this book is to provide a methods book that bridges the gap between research and practice on AAC for individuals with moderate to severe disabilities. The authors have achieved this purpose by presenting empirically validated implementation procedural steps that are effective in establishing a beginning functional communicative repertoire for individuals with moderate to severe disabilities and by offering a comprehensive review of basic principles of ABA employed in this book.
The book gives plenty of information on AAC and implementation strategies and maximized the space (386 pages) using two columns in all pages with an exception of the first page of each chapter that presents a chapter overview, objectives, and key terms. The book is divided into two parts: Part 1. Establishing the Framework for Intervention, and Part 2. Establishing Functional Communication. The parts are subdivided into 13 chapters: seven chapters for Part 1 (204 pages) and six for Part 2 (166 pages). Each chapter provides “helpful hints” on terms and practical suggestions, notes directing readers to relevant chapters within the book, a “What Does the Research Say” section (boxed), and illustrative materials. Most chapters also include detailed example research, “Case Example,” addressing designs and findings of relevant research. An accompanying CD-ROM provides various monitoring forms both in blank and filled-in versions for each applicable chapter.
The first two chapters provide general information. Chapter 1, Teaching Pragmatic Skills to Individuals with Severe Disabilities, provides descriptions of typical pathways of communication development and functions of intentional communication, and differentiates communication functions from communicative intents (e.g., behavior regulation, joint attention, social interaction). Chapter 2, Building Blocks of a Beginning Communication System, addresses different communicative modes, especially graphic and gestural modes. This chapter highlights the effectiveness of the mixed mode of communication.
Chapter 3 explains features of AAC systems (e.g., output, symbol displays, and selection techniques), especially “aided” AAC system. This chapter provides descriptions and procedural steps on selection techniques, exclusively on a scanning technique for items menued for an AAC user. Chapter 4 relates specifically to indirect selection for [End Page 169] individuals with severe physical disabilities. Patricia Dowden and Albert Cook effectively used case examples of “Genna” and “Victor” with moderate to severe disabilities throughout the chapter to assist readers’ understanding of ways to build on...