When to use the TAT4AAC

Author-Avatar MFO

12/23/2019 8:53 PM

Hopefully, you had a chance to select some AAC features on the TAT4AAC and read research summaries about the cognitive demands that those AAC technology features place on users. If not, here’s the link to try it out: Today, I’d like to discuss situations when you might use the TAT4AAC, and present recent applications from our colleagues.

The TAT4AAC can be used to guide clinical decision-making

Evan is a 7-year-old boy with severe cerebral palsy who is learning to use automatic single switch scanning on a symbol-based grid, with little success. The clinician can’t figure out if Evan is challenged because the switch is not positioned correctly for the best access, or because the learning demands of the scanning pattern for his vocabulary display are too difficult, given his developing cognitive skills. The TAT4AAC can provide evidence-based literature summaries on the learning demands of switch access and vocabulary layout which may provide information to the clinician for problem solving.  

Lucy is a 10-year-old with Rett Syndrome who is learning to use eye gaze as way to access words in her speech generating device. It’s not clear to her clinician whether Lucy is having trouble learning eye gaze control because of the physical demands of eye gaze or the attentional demands that the sizable grid display places on her for reliable target selection. By using the TAT4AAC to read research summaries about eye gaze as an adaptive technology for cursor control, grid size and vocabulary organization, the clinician may to find answers to: Are the learning demands of this display too difficult for Lucy right now? Do we know what cognitive skills are required for eye gaze access? Does Lucy’s grid display place a cognitive load on eye gaze use?

The TAT4AAC can be used for communication team-building purposes

Orly is a 6th grader with complex communication needs who is treated by an AAC specialist at the local children’s hospital, and by her local school team. The AAC specialist has recommended one system based on an extensive feature matching assessment, and the school team has placed different recommendations in her IEP. The AAC specialist uses the TAT4AAC as a tool to show the evidence for his clinical decision and SGD recommendations to the school team.

Matthew’s school team is writing a clinical report, describing his strengths and proposing recommendations for him to try a new AAC system. The team can easily access articles and TAT4AAC literature summaries to share with his parents and his health care providers that support their recommendation. The TAT4AAC summaries were written to be easily understood by families and those not familiar with AAC principles and clinical vocabulary.

The TAT4AAC can be used for teaching and capacity building purposes

For clinical supervisors, the TAT4AAC can help teach student clinicians about AAC, cognitive demands of technology, and feature matching. Often, it is hard to explain why a strategy is not working for a client, or why a student’s developmental status might fit well with a specific AAC feature. The TAT4AAC provides evidence from the literature of how demanding AAC features are for learning and cognitive skills, and may help the clinical supervisors explain the role of cognition in AAC technology use.

For faculty members teaching AAC courses, for researchers, device developers and students completing literature reviews on AAC and cognition, the TAT4AAC provides a literature base that can form course content, research papers, and reference lists. It boasts of an evidence-based feature list that has been vetted by AAC and cognition national experts. It supplies annotated summaries of current and seminal articles about AAC technology features and cognition. The TAT4AAC can be used as a library resource as we develop our next set of clinical research questions and design our next devices for children with complex communication needs.

We invite you to explore this new resource and share your opinions, questions and uses with the Matrix Community of Practice.

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