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Friday, February 10, 2012

AAC Feature Matching (K. Rausch)

At the ATI Pre-Conference session, February 10, 2012 (Costa Mesa, CA), Kathleen Rausch reviewed AAC assessment as part of this 1-day program Update Your AAC Toolbox: Assessment, Current, Devices, iPad Apps, and More! This presentation will be reprised in April 2012 at Lanterman RC (Click HERE for more info).

Let's take a look at the Feature Matching process...

Matching an individual's needs to specific features of a device or communication system is an essential element in any AAC assessment. Feature-matching refers to the process of matching the skills and communication needs of the AAC user with the features of a given AAC system. This process requires an in-depth exploration of the potential user's current language comprehension, literacy, communication skills, and potential for progress and learning. In addition, knowledge of the various and growing variety of AAC devices on the market is a must.

As a clinician, you can boost your current knowledge of available high tech AAC devices by signing on to AAC Tech Connect to access their Device assistant and Apps assistant resources (free trials available) which compare features and functions for you. The alternative: do the research yourself via personal experience, online resources such as this blog, catalogs, etc. 

Considerations in your AAC process (from Kathleen Rausch):
  • Sensory-motor factors
  • Cognitive Factors
  • Environmental factors
  • Complexity (symbol set, number of messages, language, vocabulary, programming, etc.)
  • Input and output method
  • Family, school staff, vocational support available
  • Client preference and motivation
  • Extra device features
  • Funding source requirements
Purpose of Use (from Kathleen Rausch):
  • Output - variety of available/appropriate and audible voices, languages other than English
  • Speech settings - pausing, speak after word or punctuation
  • Customization of speech settings - rate, pronunciation exceptions
  • Symbol representation - objects, photos, drawings, abstract symbols, multiple meaning symbols, text with pictures, text alone
  • Display settings - single message buttons, text-to-speech option, keyboard, portrait and/or landscape, size of message window
  • Customization of display settings - color coding, font size, shape and size of buttons, keyboard ABC order or QWERTY
  • Feedback features-  visual scanning, highlighted text, animation, auditory clip
  • Rate enhancement features - "recents" for common phrases, within word and between word prediction, phrase prediction
  • Access - direct selection, switch access (more on this to follow...!)
  • Motor competency - touch pressure required (traditional SGDs vs. touchscreen mobile devices) tap, swipe, drag, double tap, dwell
  • Support - technological support, weigh in with feedback for app creators, watch apps in motion via YouTube clips/reviews, availability of a manual
Things to Remember: Feature Matching (from Kathleen Rausch)
    • Every communication system has its strengths and weaknesses
    • Consider future communication needs (potential for 5 years of development)
    • Choosing the "correct" device does not equal successful use of the device
    • Do not focus solely on device features, but take into account all external factors
    • FINALLY - the primary focus of any AAC system should be on languae use and development!

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