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AAC family-centeredness (Biggs et al., 2024)

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posted on 2024-01-29, 15:25 authored by Elizabeth E. Biggs, Michelle C. S. Therrien, Diana Abarca, Mollie Romano, Andrea Barton-Hulsey, Sara C. Collins

Purpose: Family–professional partnerships are important for youth learning to use aided augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). This study examined the family-oriented beliefs and practices of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) working with preschool and school-aged children learning to use aided AAC (aged 3–21 years), specifically during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Method: Participants were 25 SLPs who participated in an individual semistructured interview. Qualitative analysis was used to identify and describe groups of SLPs based on commonalities and differences in their beliefs and practices working with families. The characteristics of SLPs in each group was also explored descriptively (e.g., race/ethnicity, work setting, caseload).

Results: SLPs clustered into three groups based on their beliefs and practices: (a) professionally centered, (b) family-allied, and (c) family-focused. SLPs varied across these groups in how they planned services, offered training/coaching, communicated, shared resources, offered emotional support, and adapted to and with different families.

Conclusions: Findings indicate the need to support greater family-centeredness in AAC services by building on the strengths of SLPs in the field. Promoting strong family–professional partnerships could in turn improve outcomes for students who use AAC.

Supplemental Material S1. Structure of the interview guide for speech-language pathologists.

Supplemental Material S2. Sample SLP profiles.

Biggs, E. E., Therrien, M. C. S., Abarca, D., Romano, M., Barton-Hulsey, A., & Collins, S. C. (2024). Examining the family-centeredness of speech-language pathologists working with children who use augmentative and alternative communication. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 33(2), 1021–1039.


This work was supported by the Florida State University Council on Research and Creativity (CRC) under the COVID Collaborative Collision Grant, awarded to Michelle C. S. Therrien, Andrea Barton-Hulsey, Mollie Romano, and Elizabeth E. Biggs.