The Accessibility Institute and the Canadian Accessibility Network (CAN) are pleased to share the release of the Augmentative and Alternative Communication Project final report.

The multi-year study aimed to impact and improve the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) technologies and inform standards so that AAC guidelines for accessibility can be developed. AAC technologies assist individuals with speech, language, or communication impairments to express their thoughts, needs, feelings, and ideas, and are used in conjunction with a device, such as a tablet or laptop, to generate speech or text.

By addressing the lack of standardization for AAC technologies and devices, researchers at Queen’s University’s, in collaboration with the CANĀ and the Canadian chapter of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC), hope to inform future accessibility guidelines that will produce more inclusive, universal, and effective AAC devices and increase the employment potential of persons with disabilities.

The project’s findings revealed that despite the availability of AAC supports, there is great variability in service delivery, professional resources, and access to funding across Canada. The study produced several recommendations regarding AAC technology design and use, access to services and funding for devices, using a collaborative interdisciplinary approach, and providing increased training across healthcare, education, and employment settings so medical professionals, teachers, and employers are better equipped to support, assist, provide accommodations, interact and work with individuals who use alternative methods of communication.

This project was funded by Accessibility Standards Canada.

Visit the Accessibility Standards Canada Augmentative and Alternative Communications Project webpage to access the full report.