Children's Ideas for the Design of AAC Assistive Technologies for Young Children With Complex Communication NeedsBy Light, Janice; Page, Rebecca; Curran, Jennifer; Pitkin, Laura; Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), Vol. 23, No. 4, pp. 274-287
Publication Date: December 2007
Study examined children’s preferences and priorities for the design of assistive technologies to enhance communication for children with complex communication needs. Six fourth-graders without disabilities, 3 boys and 3 girls 10 years of age, were divided into two teams, provided with drawing and craft materials and asked to develop prototypes of inventions to support the communication of a young boy who used a wheelchair, was unable to speak and had limited use of his hands. The design process and the inventions were analyzed using qualitative methods. Results showed that the children’s inventions differed significantly from the designs of current AAC technologies. The inventions integrated multiple functions, e.g. communication, social interaction, companionship, play, artistic expression, and telecommunication, and provided dynamic contexts to support social interactions with others, especially peers. The children characterized the systems as companions and utilized innovative names (Mind O’Matic 2000; Curly Bob), bright colors, lights, transformable shapes, popular themes, humor, and amazing accomplishments, such as hitting a home run, to capture interest, enhance appeal, build self-esteem, and establish a positive social image. The systems were easily personalized to reflect the user’s age, personality, interests, and preferences. Implications for the design of AAC technologies and future research and development are discussed.
Published by: International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) (Website:http://www.isaac-online.org)
Link to text: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07434610701390475