“Shhhh! Alex Has Something To Say”: AAC-SGD Use in the Classroom Setting

Lisa M. Mellman, Laura S. Dethorne, Julie A. Hengst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present qualitative study was designed to examine augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) practices, particularly surrounding speech-generating devices (SGDs), in the classroom setting. We focused on three key child participants, their classroom teachers, and associated speech-language pathologists across three different schools. In addition to semi-structured interviews of all participants, six classroom observations per child were completed. Data were coded according to both pre-established and emergent themes. Four broad themes emerged: message-focused AAC use, social interactions within the classroom community, barriers to successful AAC-SGD use, and missed opportunities. Findings revealed a lack of SGD use in the classroom for two children as well as limited social interaction across all cases. We conclude by highlighting the pervasive sense of missed opportunities across these classroom observations and yet, at the same time, the striking resiliency of communicative effort in these cases.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-114
JournalPerspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010


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