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Assistive technology devices and usage for individuals with low-incidence disabilities

, Northern Arizona University, United States

Northern Arizona University . Awarded


The purpose of this study was to describe individual use of augmentative alternative communication (AAC) devices through individual case studies. The case studies focused on individual communication before, during, and after an AAC device was prescribed. This study of cases uses qualitative and descriptive information to describe individual use of AAC devices. Triangulation of information obtained from a variety of sources including records review, surveys, and interviews further substantiated findings from the case studies.

Participants included five individuals from two school districts and one adult within Arizona. Participants were prescribed an AAC device and then received training to use the device. Caregivers of participants completed surveys after training had been implemented. Follow-up interviews were conducted to answer additional questions that arose from the survey as well as the gathered information. Descriptive and qualitative measures that included file review, caregiver interviews, and service professional comments were used to provide an in-depth understanding of AAC device use and abandonment.

Fifty percent of the primary caregivers reported little or no success with device use; one caregiver could not report on device success as the individual was not using the device yet for daily communication. Abandonment and/or infrequent use of devices for communication needs sometimes occurred when collaboration between schools, caregivers, and related service providers was inconsistent or when devices were too complex. Often programming of devices was described as too difficult to allow for successful device use. In summary, device training for participants, caregivers, and related providers was an essential consideration for prolonged device use.


Davis-Johnson, D.E. Assistive technology devices and usage for individuals with low-incidence disabilities. Ph.D. thesis, Northern Arizona University. Retrieved February 1, 2023 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

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