The article “Augmentative Communication Devices in the Classroom and Community” discusses the various ways that technology and other devices can be useful and helpful for those with physical, developmental, or other forms of disabilities. Author Matthew Sableski begins the article with a general discussion of “assistive technology,” noting that everything from electronic garage-door openers to hearing aids serve as various forms of assistive technology. Sableski then narrows the focus of the discussion, turning to the forms of technology that can help those with disabilities and disorders that make communication difficult. In the classroom setting, such technology is referred to as “Augmentive/Alternative Communication” (AAC), and can be used to help students overcome challenges related to communication.
Sableski’s article covers a range of issues, beginning with legislation that was passed in the 1970s that mandated the use of AAC for public-school students with disabilities. The article then discusses several of the issues and challenges associated with implementing and enforcing this legislation, and some of the technological achievements that have been reached in the decades since the law as first passed. The discussion then turns to an overview of some of the primary forms of augmentive technology used in classroom settings, with an emphasis on the technologies that are intended to assist students with issues and problems related to communication. One of the devices described in the article is the “Delta Talker,” which will speak for students as they type word on the device or press buttons on a screen that contain images of various objects.
The article examines a research study that examines the use of such augmentive technologies in a specific classroom’ this study determined that a significant number of participating students showed marked improvements in their communication skills when give the chance to use devices such as the Delta Talker. In addition to the information about the study, an overview of several other types of augmentive communication devices is provided, along with an explanation about how each of them can he helpful in the classroom setting. As Sableski makes clear, the use of AAC devices for students with certain disabilities can offer them new opportunities to communicate with teachers and others in the classroom, making AAC an important tool for educators and students alike.
Sableski, Matthew. (2000). Augmentive communication devices in the classroom and community. Electronic Journal for Inclusive Education. 1(3). 1-8.