Published on March 7th, 2014 | by Carole Zangari4
Linguistically-robust AAC Systems
At the NCACA conference last month, a few of us were talking about what it means to have an AAC device or app with a strong language system, something Gail Van Tatenhove and I wrote about a few years ago in this book. Linguistically-robust language systems are those that will allow someone to construct grammatically correct utterances. Think of the different SGDs or AAC apps that you worked with this week. If you could use them to recreate the last 30 minutes of ‘talk time’ that you had without spelling out too many of the words, chances are pretty good that it is a linguistically-robust system.
That led to us asking ourselves and others a question. “What do you look for in terms of a language system when you’re considering SGDs or AAC apps for a learner who has the potential to (eventually) construct grammatically correct utterances?” Keep in mind that we were not talking about other aspects that factor into device selection, such as access, speech, rate enhancement, or symbol type. Instead, the focus was on the specific linguistic characteristics that give us the platform for teaching generative language.
Here is the list of language features on which there seemed to be consensus.
- No fewer than 300+ core words
- Wide range of word classes (e.g., verbs, pronouns, modifiers, conjunctions, prepositions)
- Ability to make morphological changes (e.g., tense, pluralization, comparative/superlative)
- Supports motor automaticity but allows for planned growth
- Word prediction
What’s your ‘minimum criteria’ for a linguistically-robust AAC system? We’d love to hear your thoughts. If there are language features that you find essential that we omitted, we’d love to hear about them. Agree or disagree with our list? Suggestions? Let’s discuss!