David McNaughton & Janice Light
Augmentative and Alternative Communication
The iPad and other mobile technologies provide powerful new tools to potentially enhance communication for individuals with developmental disabilities, acquired neurogenic disorders, and degenerative neurological conditions. These mobile technologies offer a number of potential benefits, including: (a) increased awareness and social acceptance of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), (b) greater consumer empowerment in accessing AAC solutions, (c) increased adoption of AAC technologies, (d) greater functionality and interconnectivity, and (e) greater diffusion of AAC research and development. However, there remain a number of significant challenges that must be addressed if these benefits are to be fully realized: (a) to ensure the focus is on communication, not just technology, (b) to develop innovative models of AAC service delivery to ensure successful outcomes, (c) to ensure ease of access for all individuals who require AAC, and, (d) to maximize AAC solutions to support a wide variety of communication functions. There is an urgent need for effective collaboration among key stakeholders to support research and development activities, and to ensure the successful implementation of mobile technologies to enhance communication outcomes for individuals who require AAC and their families.