Senior Project Advisor

Thistle, Jennifer

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2020


Augmentative and Alternative Communication, AAC


This project addressed the question “What myths and misconceptions about alternative and augmentative communication do graduate speech-language pathology and undergraduate special education students hold?” Alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) is any form of nonverbal communication that is used to enhance or replace speech (Beukelman & Mirenda, 2013). AAC is used by individuals of all ages, including children with developmental disorders and adults who have acquired disabilities. An estimated 4 million individuals in the United States cannot rely solely on speech to communicate, and could benefit from AAC (Beukelman & Mirenda, 2013). Therefore, professionals must be educated about AAC, and in order to do this, gaps in curriculum must be identified and addressed. Professionals in speech language pathology and special education are most likely to encounter individuals who use AAC, yet these professions have very different curriculums. The entry level degree for special educators is a bachelor’s degree; for speech language pathologists it is a master’s degree, and not all preparation programs include content related to AAC. Participants were Western Washington University graduate students in speech language pathology and undergraduate students in special education. They completed a survey listing common myths about AAC. Results showed a statistical difference between overall survey scores of graduate students in speech language pathology and undergraduate students in special education. Further, both groups showed beliefs of several myths. This poster describes those myths and discusses the need for further education of professionals, as well as the general public.


Communication Sciences and Disorders

Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

Speech therapists--Public opinion; Special education teachers--Public opinion; People with disabilities--Means of communication; Communicative disorders--Rehabilitation; Speech therapy


student projects; term papers




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