Communication Sciences and Disorders 616

COSD 616: Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Prerequisites: Graduate Standing

Credit Hours: (3)

An in-depth study of evidence-based approaches to assessment and intervention with individuals who require the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). The course will also provide hands-on training with current AAC technology.


Detailed Description of Course

The major content of the course will be as follows:

  • history of the field of AAC
  • candidacy for AAC
  • overview of populations who use AAC
  • overview of types of AAC systems
  • access methods
  • acceleration techniques
  • input methods
  • representing and choosing vocabulary for AAC systems
  • purposes of communication for special populations
  • communicative competence
  • designing a comprehensive assessment plan
  • identification of communication needs
  • modes of communication
  • techniques for assessing language skills
  • symbol representation
  • sensory perceptual skills
  • positioning and access
  • cognitive organization of vocabulary
  • development of trial AAC systems
  • facilitator training
  • labs: software for programming systems, light tech systems, voice output communication aids
  • special populations who may benefit from AAC: autism, mental retardation, children and adults with challenging behaviors, acquired neurological disorders, progressive disorders in adults


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course will include a combination of lectures, discussions, and independent and group activities. Throughout the course, students will have opportunities to integrate and synthesize information presented during lectures and apply their knowledge to pediatric and adult clinical cases. Students will also have opportunities to apply their knowledge of evidence-based assessment and intervention approaches to developing and programming light and high tech AAC systems.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Students will develop oral and written competencies in:

  • Describing the nature of augmentative and alternative communication
    systems and strategies.
  • Describing populations of children and adults who may benefit from the use of augmentative and alternative communication
  • Conducting comprehensive assessments supported by the latest research.
  • Developing customized intervention plans based on state-of-the-art evidence-based approaches.
  • Developing skills in the development, programming, and use of light and high tech augmentative and alternative communication systems.
  • Developing skills in critical thinking for life-long learning.


Assessment Measures

Students' understanding and application of the material may be assessed regularly via examinations (oral and written), presentations, and assignments. Students may be asked to present assessment and intervention cases. Students may complete lab assignments to gain hands-on training of key software programs, develop light tech systems, and program high tech systems.


Other Course Information



Review and Approval
Approved March 2006