During Autism Awareness Month 2012, an exploratory survey on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and iPads, iPod touches and iPhones was distributed as part of research collaboration between AssistiveWare and professors from the University of San Diego and the California State University at San Marcos.
In this blog post we provide an overview of the key facts and findings of the survey that among others revealed that in the opinion of respondents, Proloquo2Go and other full-featured AAC Apps together with Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod touch can deliver an AAC solution that supports considerable improvements in key areas such as independence, behavior, interaction with others and learning.
About the survey
Topic of the survey: Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and iPads, iPod touches and iPhones
Why was the survey conducted?: This initial exploratory survey was conducted to identify interesting trends about the user community and the benefits of AAC on consumer devices.
Who conducted the survey: The survey is part of research collaboration between AssistiveWare and professors from the University of San Diego and the California State University at San Marcos.
How was the survey distributed: The online survey was distributed through Facebook, Twitter and newsletters targeting users, family members and professionals in the Proloquo2Go and AAC on iOS user communities.
Who responded to the survey: 232 people: 17 AAC Users, 98 family members, caregivers and friends of AAC users, and 117 professionals working with AAC users. All the respondents were people who had previously shown an interest in AAC for iOS devices.
Disclaimer: The survey is of a preliminary, exploratory nature with a relatively small sample size and a “convenience” sample. Nonetheless, a number of patterns emerge across all three groups of respondents providing confidence in emerging trends and support for larger and more in-depth research on this important topic.
An overwhelming majority of the AAC users and families are seeing real-life benefits of this technology. Improvements not just in communication, but also in independence, behavior and general wellbeing are observed since using Proloquo2Go
Our survey reinforced what I've been hearing from the field - parents, teachers and Speech and Language Professionals realize that SLP's need more training in AAC. Often the broad range of communication benefits is not fully realized because too many kids and clients are stuck on labeling, requesting and answering endless repetitive questions.
- In the opinion of respondents, Proloquo2Go and other full-featured AAC Apps together with Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod touch can deliver an AAC solution that provides considerable improvements in key areas such as independence, behavior, interaction with others and learning.
- Despite the limited nature of our data, we are hopeful that a wider availability of AAC might enhance speech development for many individuals.
- It appears that AAC apps on iOS devices provide a flexible, mobile communication solution that is being used in many different environments.
- It appears there may be a serious shortage of knowledgeable professionals capable of assisting families with effective AAC use.
- The preliminary data suggests the potential of many AAC users to access a fuller range of communication functions is as yet insufficiently tapped, with less than 20% using the full spectrum of communication functions.
Mobile AAC use
- It appears that Apple’s iOS devices and AAC apps have brought AAC within reach of a much larger population than was traditionally served with dedicated devices.
- Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod touch appear to be used as an AAC solution by a variety of age groups ranging from those receiving early intervention to seniors.
- Many users benefit from having access to more than one iOS device for AAC, perhaps because of the affordability of the devices and the benefits of the different form factors.
- Adoption of iOS devices for AAC use appears to be accelerating.
- The multipurpose nature of the iOS devices and available apps make the devices useful for many purposes beyond AAC.
Download the full white paper (PDF)