This session will provide participants summary information on the six key presentations that made up the core of the AAC-RERC State of the Science Conference (SOSC). RESNA participants will have the opportunity to comment and provide feedback on the papers and information presented. Papers will be edited in reaction to the comments from SOSC, International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISSAAC) and RESNA participants. The completed papers will be published as a special issue of AAC, the Journal of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication, AAC, State of the Science, Research
The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Communication Enhancement (AAC-RERC) conducts a comprehensive program of research, development, training, and dissemination activities that seek to improve technologies for individuals who rely on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) technologies.
This session will provide summary information on the six key presentations that made up the core of the AAC-RERC State of the Science Conference (SOSC). The purpose of this paper is to further disseminate the information from the SOSC as well as to provide RESNA 2006 participants the opportunity to comment and provide feedback on the papers and information presented.
The AAC-RERC invited members of multiple stakeholder groups to participate for three days of presentations and discussions on various topic areas regarding AAC and AAC technologies. A diverse group of consumers and family members, manufacturers, researchers, service providers, educators and other AAC experts will meet in Los Angeles, CA, USA. The RERC SOSC will be held in conjunction with the CSUN Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, March 21-25, 2006. AAC-RERC partners and their collaborators prepared and presented white papers on various topics. Several papers received input from experts in outside of the North America.
The purpose of the papers and presentations was to provide a foundational base about the current state of the science in AAC technology and about potential future directions in AAC technology. All participants played active roles in the process. Each day, two papers were presented as part of the CSUN program. This made it possible for the 4000 plus CSUN participants, as well as the invited SOSC attendees, to hear the papers and comment. After each presentation, the invited SOSC participants reconvened for discussions and brainstorming in an effort to come to consensus about the issues in the field related to the topic areas, which are listed below:
This presentation will articulate basic principles operating within the AAC-RERC that underlie the Center's activities and set the stage for discussions about the state of the science in AAC and AAC-RERC projects and processes in its research, development, training and dissemination activities.
This presentation focuses on access to augmentative communication devices from a past present and future perspective. While motor disturbances are the principal reason for much of the uniqueness of AAC other factors that contribute to access including rate enhancement will be included. The future technologies that hold the greatest promise for those with motor involvement will also be featured including brain wave and eye gaze innovations.
This paper addresses how the views for interconnectivity have changed since the 2001review and discussion of this topic. The discussion will focus on how AAC devices might keep pace with mainstream/contemporary changes in the need to be function-driven and not continue to be six generations behind. Issues addressed in this topic area include: types of tasks that could be improved through interconnectivity, real-time access, issues and needs across the age span, the future of hardware vs. software emphasis, potential impact of standard contemporary technology on funding streams, and whether interconnectivity in AAC is a development issue or a policy issue.
This presentation will discuss factors that should be considered in the design and use of AAC systems to maximize outcomes for beginning communicators: appeal; learnability; growth potential; contexts / milieu to support interactions; support for varied communication and learning opportunities; and support and learnability for parents and other partners.
This Presentation will describe the role of AAC technology in enhancing the participation of individuals with developmental disabilities in meaningful societal roles. Particular attention will be given to the role of AAC in supporting employment, participation in the community, creating access to educational activities, and facilitating independent living.
This presentation will discuss the unique issues surrounding individuals with acquired disabilities including: changes in population, technology changes, and funding; maintaining and expanding social networks; supporting social roles; leveraging residual capabilities; reducing learning demands; supporting facilitators; maintaining communication resilience across settings; and documenting transitions for specific populations.
Copies of the completed papers will be available at http://www.aac-rerc.com
The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Communication Enhancement is funded by the US Department of Education's, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). The RERC conducts a comprehensive program of research, development, training, and dissemination activities that address the NIDRR priorities and seek to improve technologies for individuals who rely on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) technologies. The mission of the AAC-RERC is to assist people who use AAC technologies in achieving their goals across environments. Our goals and objectives are to advance and promote AAC technologies through the outputs and outcomes of our research and development activities; and to support individuals who use, manufacture, and recommend these technologies in ways they value.
The AAC-RERC is a collaboration housed administratively at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC, and is joined in collaboration by researchers from six partner institutions: Augmentative Communication Inc; Children's Hospital Boston; Penn State University; State University of New York-Buffalo; Temple University; and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The project builds on collaborative relationships with researchers both in and outside of the field of AAC and assistive technology, including the Department of Navy, the Federal Laboratory Consortium, IBM, Enkidu Research, Don Johnston, Inc., and InvoTek, among others. In this new center, the collaborators build on the work conducted during the past five years by addressing important stakeholder needs identified during the past AAC-RERC.
Conference participants will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the presentations and papers electronically through the RERC website. Papers will be edited in reaction to the comments from SOSC, International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISSAAC) and RESNA participants. The completed papers will be published as a special issue of AAC, the Journal of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication.
This work is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research of the U.S. Department of Education, under grant number H133E030018. The opinions contained in this presentation are those of the grantee and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Education.
Kevin Caves, ME, ATP, RET
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, NC 27710
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