Augmentative and alternative communication and down syndrome: A literature review and PhD overview

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Verbal communication can be challenging for individuals with Down syndrome due to a number of factors including phonological delays or disorders, hearing loss, and motor difficulties. This can result in communication breakdown, particularly when communicating with unfamiliar communication partners, forming a barrier to achieving independence, agency, and participation in society. The term 'Augmentative and Alternative Communication' (AAC) refers to strategies and technology that can enable or support communication for those without a voice or who have difficulty speaking. AAC can be unaided, without technology, such as the use of gestures or signing systems. In contrast, aided AAC involves technology and can be paper based, such as the use of symbols, communication boards or books, or digital, including voice output communication aids (VOCAs) or visual scene displays (VSDs). These differing AAC methods may be used exclusively or used in combination by adopting a multi-modal AAC approach. This presentation will introduce these different forms of AAC in addition to providing a brief overview of the research literature relating to the use of AAC for individuals with Down syndrome across the lifespan. The presenter will also outline her PhD project (currently in its infancy) exploring the use of AAC to facilitate the communication of children and young people with Down syndrome, considering the perspectives of individuals with Down syndrome, caregivers, and wider stakeholders. Feedback relating to the project is welcome and encouraged.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2022
EventDown Syndrome Research Forum - Online Conference
Duration: 10 Mar 202211 Mar 2022


ConferenceDown Syndrome Research Forum
Internet address


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