Please note: You have reached the home page of the AAC-RERC, which was funded by NIDRR from 2008-2013.

The home page for the RERC on AAC
(funded by NIDILRR, 2014-2019)
is available at


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State of the Science Conference in AAC: AAC-RERC Final Report
The AAC-RERC partners prepared a comprehensive report on the final outcomes of the State of the Science Conference held in Baltimore, MD on in conjunction with the RESNA conference. Copies of the report are available for download.

janice at sosc

State of the Science Conference in AAC: Presentations
Melanie Fried-Oken, Janice Light, Susan Fager, and Jeff Higginbotham presented at the State of the Science Conference hosted by the AAC-RERC at the RESNA conference. The presentations are available as   webcasts and on YouTube.

Brookes text on Aphasia

Supporting Communication for Adults with Acute and Chronic Aphasia
This new text, edited by Nina Simmons-Mackie, Julia M. King, and David R. Beukelman, describes how AAC and other communication supports can be used to "aid people with aphasia and encourage ongoing participation in everyday life".

adult with iPad

Mobile Technologies as Communication Supports for Persons with Primary Progressive Aphasia
Melanie Fried-Oken and colleagues presented at the RESNA/ATIA 2013 Research Symposium on the use of iPads and other mobile technologies to support the communication of adults with Primary Progressive Aphasia (Handout)

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RESNA Student Design Competition 
David McNaughton has worked with Maureen Linden and Doug Gayton to create the RESNA Student Design Competition website.  The work of the 2013 Semi-Finalists has now been posted

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Tobii T60 and Visual Fixation Patterns of Adults with Aphasia
Amber Thiessen and David Beukelman have worked in collaboration with Tobii Technology to use a Tobii T60 to investigate the visual fixation patterns of adults with aphasia ( handout)

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The Changing Face of Augmentative and Alternative Communication: Past, Present, and Future Challenges
In a recent editorial in the journal Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Janice Light and David McNaughton describe recent changes and future challenges in the field of AAC. Copies available by email request to


Adapted Computer Access
As demonstrated in this YouTube video, AAC-RERC partners at InvoTek worked with a client to enable computer access via eye-movement.

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Daring to Dream
Diane Bryen and colleagues have developed a Kindle text to support transition planning for adolescents and adults with complex communication needs.

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Implementing Directives that Involve Prepositions with Children with Autism
Howard Shane, Ralf Schlosser and colleagues have published research on the use of spoken cues and augmented input with children with autism in the journal Augmentative and Alternative Communication. (abstract)


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Brain Computer Interface
The work of the Oregon Health and Science University Brain Institute was described in this televised news story . The use of a noninvasive brain-computer interface (BCI) can allow people who are locked-in to communicate by operating a computer cursor.

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AAC and Aphasia
In this new webcast, Melanie Fried-Oken provides data and video evidence to demonstrate the benefits of AAC Interventions for Persons with Primary Progressive Aphasia

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ISAAC 2012
AAC-RERC partners presented at ISAAC 2012 in Pittsburgh, July 30 - August 2. Check this page for conference presentation handouts.

Update on AAC-RERC State of the Science Report
Melanie Fried-Oken provided an update on The AAC-RERC 2012 State of the Science Conference Report at the ATIA/RESNA Research Symposiumin Orlando Florida on January 30, 2013. This all-day event addressed critical research issues facing the AT research, manufacturing, and vendor communities (handout)

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Join us on Facebook
The AAC-RERC is on Facebook! Please friend our page to receive updates on AAC-RERC activities, and information on new resources

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AAC-RERC YouTube Channel

We have put copies of some of our most popular webcasts on our YouTube channel,  including Disaster Preparedness for People with CCN, AAC for Persons with Primary Progressive Aphasia, and Supporting Communication for People with Minimal Movement.

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E-Learning Resources
Barbara Collier and Sarah Blackstone (ACCPC) have developed free, online e-learning modules designed for organizations on improving access to goods and services for people with communication disabilities. ACCPC has also developed a document that describes what people with CCN should expect from organizations that are compliant with human rights legislation. 

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Webcasts and Certificates of Completion
The AAC-RERC provides 20 free webcasts on a variety of AAC topics. In order to support the use of the webcasts by university faculty, we have developed on-line quizzes that can be used in conjunction with the webcasts. Students who successfully pass the quiz (80% or higher) can print a certificate of completion, and email their score to an instructor.

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The E-Blast service from the AAC-RERC (2008-2013) is no longer available.

To subscribe to the eBlast from the RERC on AAC ( 2014-2019) please go to




The AAC-RERC (2008-2013) was a Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center that functioned as a collaborative research group dedicated to the development of effective AAC technology. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) refers to ways (other than speech) that are used to send a message from one person to another.

Recent Presentations and Publications

Beukelman, D., Fager, S., King, J., & Hux, K. (November, 2012). AAC for adults with Acquired Neurological Conditions: Today & tomorrow. Presentation at ASHA, Atlanta, GA (handout),

Cook, A., McNaughton, D., Powell, J. (June, 2013). Peer Review Journals: Behind the Scenes. Presentation at RESNA. Bellevue, Washington.

DeRuyter, F. (February, 2013). Emerging developments in augmentative and alternative communication. Presentation at CSUN, CA. (handout)

Fager, S., Jakobs, T., Beukelman, D., Ternus, T., & Schley, H. (2012). New AAC Access Strategy for Gesture Tracking: A Technical Note. Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 21(1), 11-16. (abstract)

Fried-Oken, M. (January, 2013). Report on the 2012 AAC-RERC State of the Science Conference. Presentation at the ATIA/RESNA Research Symposium, Orlando, FL. (handout)

Fried-Oken, M., Rowland, C., Daniels, C., Mooney, A., & Noether, G. (January, 2013). Mobile Technologies as Communication Supports for Persons with Primary Progressive Aphasia Presentation at the ATIA/RESNA Research Symposium, Orlando, FL. (handout)

Fried-Oken et al., (June, 2013). The Rsvp Keyboard™: A Brain-Computer Interface For Communication By People With Locked-In Syndrome. Presentation at RESNA, Bellevue, WA.

Higginbotham, D. J., & Engelke, C. R. (2013). A primer for doing talk-in-interaction research in augmentative and alternative communication. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 29, 3-19. (abstract)

Light, J. (November, 2012). Building communicative competence with individuals who require AAC. Presentation at ASHA, Atlanta GA (handout)

Light, J., Drager, K., & Currall, J. (November, 2012). Effects of AAC technologies with "Just in Time" programming. Presentation at ASHA, Atlanta GA.(handout)

Light, J., Drager, K. Currall, J. & Roberts, B. (November, 2012). Preservice training of speech-language pathologists in evidence-based AAC services. Presentation at ASHA, Atlanta, GA  (handout)

Light, J., Drager, K., Wikinson, K., Finke, E., Currall, J., Roberts, B. (November, 2012). The Penn State AAC Leadership Project: Doctoral Training in AAC. Presentation at ASHA, Atlanta, GA (handout)

Light, J., & McNaughton, D. (2012). The changing face of augmentative and alternative communication: Past, present, and future challenges. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 28, 197-204. (full text available on request by email to

McNaughton, D. (June, 2013). Online approaches to prepare professionals to support assistive technology. Panel presentation at RESNA. Bellevue, Washington

McNaughton, D., & Light, J. (2013). The iPad and mobile technology revolution: Benefits and challenges for individuals who require augmentative and alternative communication. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 29, 107-116. (full text available on request by email to

McNaughton, D., & Chapple, D. (2013). AAC and Communication in the Workplace. Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 22(1), 30-36. (abstract)

Min, H., Higginbotham, D. J., Lesher, G., & T.F. Yik, (November, 2012). Exploring the contribution of conversational context in word prediction. Presentation at ASHA, Atlanta, GA (handout 1, handout 2)

Schlosser, R. W., Laubscher, E., Sorce, J., Koul, R., Flynn, S., Hotz, L., ... & Shane, H. (2013). Implementing directives that involve prepositions with children with autism: A comparison of spoken cues with two types of augmented input. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 29, 132-145. (abstract)

Thiessen, A., & Beukelman, D. (2013). Training Communication Partners of Adults Who Rely on AAC: Co-Construction of Meaning. Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 22, 16-20. (abstract)

Wallace, S., & Hux, K. (2013). Effect of two layouts on high technology AAC navigation and content location by people with aphasia. Disability and Rehabilitation Assistive Technology, Early Online: 1-10. (abstract)

Williams, M., Beukelman, D., & Ullman, C. (2012). AAC Text Messaging. Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 21(2), 56-59. (abstract)

David McNaughton

Content for this website was developed and maintained by David McNaughton (Penn State University)

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