SCSD Professors Attend AAC Research Summit

Drs. Andrea Barton-Hulsey and Michelle Therrien of the School of Communication Science and Disorders attended The Future of AAC Research Summit from May 13-14 in Arlington, Virginia. This research summit brings together people who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), researchers, technology developers, and funders to discuss priorities and future research agendas for the field of AAC.

Andrea Barton Hulsey headshot
Dr. Andrea Barton-Hulsey

“A big focus of the conference was on the importance of centering perspectives of AAC users when conducting research,” Barton-Hulsey said. “More than half of the conference presentations were given by adults who have limited speech ability and use a form of AAC called speech generating devices.”

The summit is supported by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research and CommunicationFIRST, with a mission of fostering meaningful partnerships between people who use AAC and the researchers and technology developers who directly impact them.

Michelle Therrien Headshot
Dr. Michelle Therrien

When asked about the biggest challenges and opportunities the field of AAC faces, Barton-Hulsey shared, “Advances in technology for everyone are making AAC more accessible and provide more options than ever before in terms of technical capabilities, however we continue to face the challenge of harnessing these advances so they are readily accessible for individuals with disabilities. Including AAC users and their families in technology design and implementation projects is important so that we are creating systems and interventions that best support their communication needs.”