Abstract of O. Hetzroni lecture

O. Hetzroni


O. Hetzroni, A. Ne'eman
University of HaifaIsrael

The use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and
the need to employ AAC to enhance communication and increase
language gains has become a consensus in the field for several
decades. Yet, although AAC has been available for almost three
decades, its use remains limited and its promise seems to be
unfulfilled. Lack of knowledge and skills, as well as professional’s
attitude and myths regarding AAC, may lead to limited use of AAC
technology either by causing a total absence of intervention programs
or by inhibiting the implementation of any existing program. The
purpose of this study was to investigate whether an intensive program
provided to professional settings that serve individuals with physical
and developmental disabilities would increase knowledge and provide
intervention methods in AAC among those multi-disciplinary teams.
Participants included staff members that work with individuals with
physical and developmental disabilities most of which are AAC users.
The program included theoretical and practical information provided
through intensive workshops. Research results revealed that
continuing-education programs for the multi-disciplinary teams were
highly efficient. Results demonstrated that there was a significant
increase in theoretical and practical knowledge levels as well as a
significant decrease in myths relating to AAC, and a change in staffs'
attitudes towards AAC use. A follow-up interview revealed that the
program created an impact and a total shift in the professional practice
of many of the participants. The theoretical background and the key
principles of this program, as well as the method and results will be

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