Parental Experiences in Acquiring and Using AAC with Their Young Children
Cronce, Jamie L.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Professional Studies
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PURPOSE: The study was completed in order to help provide a comprehensive understanding of the experiences regarding AAC acquisition and use of parents of young children between the ages of 0-5 years. METHOD: Seven parents of children who received or were currently receiving AAC intervention between 0-5 years of age were interviewed either in-person or via phone. The interviews were semi-structured, and the researcher asked questions related to their initial feelings toward AAC, their experience cooperating with SLPs and other individuals, their experience in regard to funding AAC devices for their child, and the impact of AAC intervention on their child’s and family’s quality of life. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and coded thematically. RESULTS: The parents in this study discussed experiences related to six different themes: 1) parent initial reaction to AAC, 2) SLP/ provider knowledge and provision of information concerning AAC, 3) communication with professionals/parental inclusion and consideration of family needs, 4) parent experience with AAC funding, 5) family and community reaction to AAC, 6) the impact of AAC on the child and family’s communication and quality of life. Additionally, some parents provided additional information and advice for both other parents and SLPs. DISCUSSION: To the researcher’s knowledge, this is the first study to specifically examine the experiences of parents of very young children (ages 0-5 years) regarding AAC acquisition and use with their child. Findings of this study were found to be very similar to prior studies which addressed parental experiences with AAC as well as research related to AAC and early intervention; however, several exceptions are explored. More research is needed in order to provide further information concerning the experiences parents of very young children who use AAC.