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Diane Nelson Bryen (Temple University) and

Tracey Rackensperger (University of Georgia)



Augmentative Communication Online User's Group (ACOLUG) is an Internet Listserv that allows users of augmentative communication and their families to communicate with each other and with professionals and students who are interested in augmentative communication. ACOLUG enables people who are separated by great geographic distances to "meet" and communicate with each other in a way that is convenient, comfortable and free!

ACOLUG, now in its 20th year has a diverse membership of more than 800 people from all states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam, and from 16 countries. The membership is primarily individuals who use augmentative communication ranging in age from 7 years old to mature adults. Family members also play a key role on ACOLUG.

Founded and sponsored by Diane Nelson Bryen and hosted at Temple University, ACOLUG has become an international community for those who rely on AAC. ACOLUG’s mission is to provide a forum for AAC users to connect, support, and learn from each other. However, with funding from the RERC, ACOLUG has also become an effective forum for disseminating information about the work of the RERC on Communication Enhancement. Also, for the past 15 years, ACOLUG has been a place where paid staff and interns who use AAC are liaisons disseminating the often technical work of the RERC in user-friendly language to members of the ACOLUG community. Through this remote employment opportunity, interns who use AAC have learned how to be effective liaisons between the RERC and individuals who rely on AAC. Staff and interns include: Tracy Rackensperger, Ami Profeta, Kate May, and Tom Reed.

Subscribers who are researchers or manufacturers listen to the rich conversations among members of ACOLUG. However, ACOLUG is not to be used for research or promotional purposes. Researchers who wish to disseminate research information to subscribers should contact Diane Bryen.

AAC device developers or manufacturers may inform subscribers of new communication products, but must disclose their relationship with the product. Subscribers who wish provide more detailed information about an AAC product to ACOLUG subscribers may do so should contact Diane Nelson Bryen  to learn how to do this in a respectful way.
Students from 35 different universities across the United Stated and Australia have learned a great deal from the members of ACOLUG, especially those who use AAC technologies. You are welcome to listen and learn from the rich conversations among members. Please remember that if you ask questions of members, these same answers may have been asked many times in the past. It takes time and energy for members who rely on AAC to answer each question. So be respectful of what is being asked of those who use AAC.

Finally, in order to provide answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ), a few links are provided where you may be able to get answers to your questions. Please use these resources before asking these questions online.

How Do I join or leave ACOLUG?

ACOLUG is available 24 hours each day and 365 days each year. As a result of its asynchrony, subscribers can check postings and respond at their convenience without the typical constraints of slow production usually experienced by individuals who use AAC and their communication partners.

To subscribe to ACOLUG, all you need is a computer with an Internet connection and an email address. If you send and receive email, you are ready to subscribe.
To join or leave ACOLUG:
Go to
and click on the third link “join or leave the list” and then follow the instructions provided.
You can also change your subscription settings or search the archives by going to and clicking on the desired link on the left.

Finally, ACOLUG is NOT a research site, nor is it a place to recruit subjects for research studies. If you wish to inform members of ACOLUG about a research opportunity, you may post a paragraph briefly describing your study with a link to a website with further details about participation.
For more information, please email Diane Bryen.


• 825 subscribers to ACOLUG as of September, 2012

• Subscribers from 15 countries

• 35 universities make use of ACOLUG as part of their pre-service professional training program

Knowledge Transfer

Bryen, D. N. (2012). ACOLUG and research: Some ethical issues. Paper presented at 15th Biennial Conference of the International Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Pittsburgh, USA. (handout)

McNaughton, D., Bryen, D. N., Blackstone, S., Williams, M., & Kennedy, P. (2012). Young adults with Complex Communication Needs: Research and development in AAC for a “diverse” population. Assistive Technology, 24, 45-53.

Bryen, D.N. (2011). Enhancing communication for ALL through AAC, Chair of Panel at 5th International Conference on Disabilities, Tel Aviv, Israel, July 6, 2011.

Bryen, D.N. (2011). Ethical issues in conducting research involving persons with disabilities: A view from the past and some new challenges, Paper presented at the Research Conference on Ethics in Disability Research, Boksburg, South Africa, August 1, 2011.

Bryen, D.N. (2011). ACOLUG: More than an Online International Forum for People with Complex Communication Needs. Poster Session presented at the 2nd Regional African Conference on AAC, Boksburg, South Africa, August, 1 – 4, 2011.

Bryen, D. N. (July, 2010). ACOLUG: More than an online international forum for people with complex communication needs. Presentation at the 14th Biennial Conference of the International Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Barcelona, Spain (poster)

Bryen, D. N., Chung, Y., & Lever, S. (2010). What you might not find in a typical Transition Plan! Some important lessons from adults who rely on Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 19, 32-40. (abstract).

Bryen, D.N., Chung, Y., & Segalman, B. (2009). Depression, social isolation, and ACOLUG. In P. Formica, R. Conti, & S. Osgood (Eds.) Proceedings of the Biennial Pittsburgh Employment Conference for Augmented Communicators, Pittsburgh: SHOUT PRESS, 13-20.

Bryen, D.N. (2008). ACOLUG -- Augmentative Communication OnLine Users' Group. Presentation at the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication Conference, Montreal, Canada.