Augmentative and Alternative Communication Technologies

Document Type

Book Chapter


Information Systems and Technology (CGU)

Publication Date



Computer Sciences | Databases and Information Systems | Medicine and Health Sciences


Communication is a dynamic process that creates and conveys a mutual understanding between two or more people. Since this process is complex and not easily taught, there exist many communication disorders ranging from a physical limitation, such as ALS, to a cognitive language disorder, such as autism. Augmentative and alternative communication systems (AACs) help people with communication disorders by providing them substituted means for communicating. These systems range from non-technical solutions, such as a paper-based PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), to elaborate technical solutions, such as a plasma picture communication table. Due to the increased attention to AACs, the Worldwide Health Organization (WHO) provides a framework to evaluate effectiveness. Using this framework as a basis, the authors identified barriers and support factors for AAC effectiveness and subsequently best practices for AAC designs. They conclude with a case study of adapting a paper-based picture-based communication system to mobile devices using open-source software development for use by children with severe autism.

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