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Publication Date

Spring 2018

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communicative Disorders and Sciences


Wendy Quach


augmentative and alternative communication, graduate students, pre-service education, service provision, speech-language pathology

Subject Areas

Speech therapy; Special education


Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is the study of the compensatory strategies for augmenting, supporting, or replacing communication via speech, e.g. speech generating devices (SGDs) and communication books. Because provision of AAC services (such as evaluation, treatment, and AAC system or device determination) is part of the scope of practice for speech and language pathologists (SLPs), it is important that students entering this field feel competent in their AAC knowledge. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of additional components of AAC education (i.e., workshops and clinical practica) on SLP students’ preservice confidence levels in providing these services. An online survey was distributed via email to 49 SLP graduate students attending a large metropolitan university. The survey included questions in which students were asked to identify their education experiences, and then rate their levels of confidence in providing AAC services for individuals with complex communication needs (CCN). The results show trends indicating that additional clinical practica in AAC impacted student’s confidence levels in treating individuals with CCN and in determining appropriate AAC systems for the student. In conclusion, it is likely that required pre-service education in AAC needs to be more robust, especially in the area of device/system determination.