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1. Citation: Millar, D. C., Light, J. C., & Schlosser, R. W. (2006). The impact of augmentative and alternative communication intervention on the speech production of individuals with developmental disabilities: A research review. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 49, 248-264.
Keywords: augmentative and alternative communication, speech production, developmental disabilities, effectiveness, meta-analysis, systematic review
Abstract: Background: The impact of augmentative and alternative communication (ACC) on individuals with developmental disabilities has been controversial (i.e., whether ACC inhibits or benefits speech production). Although a previous review of ACC effectiveness exists, it is limited by the lack of selection criteria for the included studies. A systemic review of the current research is also needed to inform the impact of the ACC interventions.

Objectives: To investigate the impact of ACC interventions on speech development in people with developmental disabilities.

Search strategy: The authors searched PsycINFO, ERIC, and MEDLINE, conducted hand searches of journals, and reviewed the reference lists of 46 articles. Keywords used for the electronic searches included non-speaking, non-vocal, augmentative communication, speech production, and speech development.

Selection criteria: Studies that included the following were included in the review: (a) implementation of AAC for people with developmental disabilities who had significant speech impairments as well as the progress in the use of ACC, (b) speech production before and after the ACC intervention, and (c) publication year between 1975 and 2003.

Data collection and analysis: The authors reviewed and coded the studies that met the criteria according to key elements (e.g., study goals, design, participants, dependent variables, etc.). In addition, the authors assessed the methodological quality of each study.

Main results: A total of 23 studies met the inclusion criteria. The findings showed the increase of speech; however, 17 of the 23 studies failed to establish experimental control. In addition, Some of the studies relied on intervention strategies that would not be considered current best practices. Five of six studies with the most rigorous experimental design investigated the effects of unaided AAC interventions and showed the positive impact of the ACC interventions on speech production.

Conclusions: The results of this review provide preliminary evidence of the benefits of ACC interventions. More research is needed to better determine the relationship between AAC interventions and speech production.

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Record Updated:2016-07-25

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