The use of augmentative and alternative communication in educational settings in the Basque Autonomous Community (Spain)

Oihana Leonet, María Orcasitas-Vicandi.
European Journal of Special Needs Education

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) refers to all forms of communication that can be used to support people with little or no functional speech. The present study was part of a broader European project that aimed at gathering information about the service provision in AAC in the Basque Autonomous Community, Spain. One hundred and fifty-three professionals in special education completed an electronically distributed questionnaire comprising 19 questions that were divided into three sections: background information, participants’ AAC practices, and AAC specific training. The findings from the analysis revealed that most of the participants have used systems of AAC at some point in their professional lives. Some participants reported not using AAC systems due to a lack of knowledge, but most of them specified that they did not stop using them once they had started. We found that participants rely on a variety of AAC systems with the most used being communicative apps and software, along with printed communication tables and self-created instruments. Data suggest that professionals use low-tech self-created materials, and this may be related to the fact even though most of the participants received some type of short training they reported that it was insufficient.