What is it about?

This review looked at 22 studies that developed AAC systems in languages other than English. Most studies developed high-tech AAC systems in European languages. Qualitative methods were commonly used, but only a few studies collaborated with people with disabilities. Language factors like grammar, vocabulary and speech sounds used in languages were typically discussed, but specific cultural factors like the cultural background of researchers, use of language in social interactions, or cultural values were rarely mentioned.

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Why is it important?

There are still limited AAC options for people with communication disabilities who speak languages other than English. When culture is not acknowledged in AAC research, we assume that cultural difference doesn't influence AAC, and dominant Western cultural views remain the norm. Future research must be explicit about the cultural context and assumptions that influence AAC development. More research is needed in this area, including new methods to collaborate with people from diverse cultures.


I hope that this article helps others to reflect on the influence of our own culture in our work, especially other white Western people like me. We all need to reflect on the ways that our dominant Western culture influences our work, listen to other perspectives and work together so that we don't unintentionally keep imposing our English language and white ways of knowing and communicating on other people. Other families and cultures have different ways of communicating that are important to them. Our communities, and our field of work and research is richer for having many perspectives, ideas, and ways of communicating.

Rebecca Amery
Charles Darwin University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Developing Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems in Languages Other Than English: A Scoping Review, American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2022, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA),
DOI: 10.1044/2022_ajslp-21-00396.
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