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Active recreation for individuals who use AAC (Hajjar & McCarthy, 2022)

journal contribution
posted on 2022-01-04, 22:59 authored by David J. Hajjar, John W. McCarthy
Purpose: The aim of the study was to gather the perspectives and lived experiences of 10 adults who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and participate in active recreation. Active recreational participation includes individual sports such as adaptive skiing, surfing, and cycling, as well as unified team sports such as soccer, bocce, and basketball.
Method: This research involved a qualitative study with two separate asynchronous online focus groups each conducted over a 6-week span. The focus groups included literate individuals who use AAC and engage in active recreational pursuits across the United States. One focus group included five individuals with acquired conditions, and the other group included five individuals with developmental disabilities.
Results: Thematic analysis of the data from both focus groups revealed five primary themes with corresponding subthemes: barriers (intrinsic and extrinsic), supports (intrinsic and extrinsic), benefits (intrinsic and extrinsic), communication (methods), and recommendations for communication partners and people who use AAC.
Conclusions: This study provides important information to individuals who use AAC and their communication partners about the benefits of active recreation and the supports needed to make these experiences successful. As a result of this study, speech-language pathologists, related professionals, and caregivers will gain a better understanding of how they can support recreational participation for people who use AAC with a specific focus on enhancing communication and expanding social networks.

Supplemental Material S1. Demographic questionnaire: Specific questions that were included in the initial Qualtrics survey distributed to all potential participants for both focus groups.

Supplemental Material S2. Primary topics and discussion questions: Types of topics and questions introduced by the moderator of the focus groups. The same topics and questions were used as a guide for both focus groups.

Supplemental Material S3. Number of thought units across both focus groups: Number of thought units across the five primary themes for both the developmental and acquired focus groups. Total thought units are also included for each primary theme.

Supplemental Material S4. Operational definitions across the five primary themes: Content specific to each primary theme. The operational definitions were used for the purpose of defining themes and conducting interrater reliability tasks.

Supplemental Material S5. Examples of programs that offer active recreation for people who use AAC: Online contact information for five adaptive sport programs based in the United States that provide individual and team recreational opportunities for people with disabilities.

Hajjar, D. J., & McCarthy, J. W. (2022). Individuals who use augmentative and alternative communication and participate in active recreation: Perspectives from adults with developmental disabilities and acquired conditions. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Advance online publication.