ASHA journals
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Preservice training in AAC (Pitt et al., 2023)

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posted on 2023-10-23, 16:03 authored by Kevin M. Pitt, Sarah Brennan, Allison M. Sauerwein, Kristy Weissling

Purpose: Preservice training is an important step to provide augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) professionals with the skills needed to facilitate inclusion and AAC success. However, existing research has largely focused on evaluating the perspectives of speech-language pathology faculty regarding preservice AAC course design. Thus, identifying important teaching topics and pedagogical teaching strategies for AAC from the perspectives of practicing professionals may provide an avenue for bolstering effective AAC implementation.

Method: A total of 67 speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and 330 special education teachers (SETs) in the state of Nebraska completed an online survey investigating the prevalence of preservice training in AAC, preferred teaching topics and strategies, and self-perceived levels of competency immediately following their preservice training in AAC.

Results: The majority of SLPs (76.1%) and the minority of SETs (23.5%) indicated receiving a dedicated course in AAC. Participants reported a preference for active learning activities, or a mix of active and passive learning, although specific preferences slightly differed between SLPs and SETs. Participants also indicated a desire for the incorporation of individuals from different disciplines in their preservice coursework. However, strategies for facilitating interactive learning between disciplines require further study.

Conclusion: Study findings corroborate and extend existing research and methods for preservice AAC delivery.

Supplemental Materials S1. Survey questions.

Supplemental Material S2. Full results of participants who responded to each question.

Pitt, K. M., Brennan, S., Sauerwein, A. M., & Weissling, K. (2023). Preservice training in augmentative and alternative communication for speech-language pathologists and special education teachers: Prevalence and preferences. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups. Advance online publication.


This work was supported by an incubation grant from the Center for Transformative Teaching at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.