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AAC RERC Projects

Research and Development Projects (2008-2013)

Design AAC Systems that Provide Dynamic Shared Interactive Contexts for Children
Janice Light and Kathy Drager (Penn State University) will investigate the effects of an innovative design for AAC technologies aimed at creating dynamic shared contexts that support communication and language development for children with CCN

Designing AAC Systems that Include Context Support for Adult with Severe Acquired Cognitive/Linguistic Limitations.
David Beukelman (University of Nebraska at Lincoln) will investigate the impact of various types of contextually, relevant information on the communication performance of persons with severe, acquired cognitive/linguistic limitations; to propose and evaluate further design specifications to reduce cognitive/linguistic load; and to evaluate the impact of these specifications on communication performance

Improved AAC Interface Strategies for Limited/Uncontrolled Movements
Tom Jakobs (InvoTek, Inc.) will identify potential new interface strategies for use by persons with severe movement limitations, prepare design specifications, and evaluate the features of desirable access methods in prototypes

Dynamically Capturing and Representing Communication Environments
David Beukelman will investigate communication situations, such as medical/rehabilitation environments, school classrooms, and employment environments to (1) identify the type, form, frequency and transience of dynamic communication content, (2) develop design features to dynamically capture the environment and present it on a AAC display, and (3) develop and evaluate the acceptance, use and impact of prototypes in a range of environments

AAC for Persons with Degenerative Language Disorders: Informing Clinical Practice
Melanie Fried-Oken
(Oregon Health & Science University) will compare effects of AAC supported conversational strategies on interaction patterns of adults with Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA) and elderly adults under controlled and natural settings; and to develop staging guidelines, grounded in empirical data, for AAC interventions with individuals with degenerative language disorders

Context-sensitive messaging with RFID technology
Frank DeRuyter (Duke University) will investigate the the use of RFID technology to provide context-sensitive information and vocabulary, and to facilitate message construction, with the goal of improving speed and ease of AAC device

Technology/Policy Watch and Emerging Issues
Frank DeRuyter (Duke University) will lead efforts to
1) identify cutting edge developments in technologies within AAC/AT,
2) recognize mainstream scientific and technology developments that can impact technologies, policies, guidelines and standards related to AAC, and
3) proactively address emerging AAC issue areas

Face2Face: An AAC Interaction Device
Jeff Higginbotham (University of New York at Buffalo) will lead investigations to
design a new generation of AAC technologies specifically for conducting face-to-face social interactions by utilizing (1) emerging hardware and software technologies (e.g., digital paper, gesture recognition, multimedia) with (2) recent social interaction research findings in AAC

Virtual Environment for Enhancing Communication and Learning
Howard Shane (Children's Hospital, Boston) will develop a web-based virtual environment to support language and communication that can be customized for individual children and communities

Software Application (M-STARR) for a Mobile Multi-Media Device
Howard Shane (Children's Hospital, Boston) will lead investigations to develop an AAC software application for a mobile device that provides timely communication strategies, alerts and reminders to persons with ASD

Internet and intranet-based Natural Language Processor (I-NLP)
Jeff Higginbotham (University of New York at Buffalo) will lead research to enhance functionality of inter- & intranet (I/Net) based natural language processor technology to provide just-in-time message content for AAC applications

Training and Knowledge Transfer Activities (2008-2013)

AAC Tech Connect
Debby McBride (AAC Tech-Connect) and David McNaughton (Penn State University) will develop
the AAC Device Assistant and the Lite Tech Low Cost AAC Chart

Student Design Project
Kevin Caves (Duke University) and Tom Jakobs (InvoTek, inc.) will develop on-line training modules and support activities for engineering students and university faculty

State of the Science Conference

David McNaughton (Penn State University) will develop three types of information products: (1) Introductory (short YouTube clips), (2) Developing Skills (30 minute webcasts), (3) Focused Competencies (hour long webcasts) on AAC-RERC related topics.

Writers Brigade
Sarah Blackstone (ACI), Johana Schwartz (ACI), David McNaughton (Penn State University) and Pam Kennedy (Writers Brigade) will develop and distribute information on how to implement a Writers Brigade, and recruit and provide support for new Writers Brigade members

Dissemination Activities (2008-2013)

David McNaughton, Larry Ullman, Kevin Williams will lead activities to develop and maintain the AAC-RERC III website

Diane Bryen (Temple University) and Tracy Rackensperger (University of Georgia) will support dissemination of information on AAC-RERC III and support mentoring and training of intern

Electronic archiving of AS and ACN
Sarah Blackstone (ACI) and Michael Williams (ACI)


  The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Consortium on Communication Enhancement (AAC-RERC) is funded under grant #H133E080011 from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) in the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS).

Duke Univ. | InvoTek, Inc. | Penn State Univ. | Children's Hospital Boston | Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln | Oregon Health & Science Univ. | State Univ. of NY, Buffalo