Augmentative and alternative communication has progressed exponentially from its beginnings years, and now it is capable of giving its users access to the world and a wide range of communication needs. In the paper, “Using AAC Technology to Access the World”, Howard Shane, Sarah Blackstone, Gregg Vanderheiden, Michael Williams, and Frank DeRuyter discuss the ways that AAC has developed and the possibilities that it offers its users today (2012).
Michael Williams, an AAC user himself, describes the systems with which he communicated before assistive technology existed. Williams discusses the frustration with the “point and grunt” method, which he relied on for his basic wants and needs in life. After he learned to read and write, he later progressed to “air writing”, which was just as frustrating but allowed for more successful communication. In the 1970’s Williams received his first computer and began writing columns in his local paper on the capabilities that computers had to help people with disabilities. With this newfound speech device, Williams spent much of his time focused on face-to-face communication; however, he states that now the world relies heavily on the Internet, and there are many other ways to stay in contact and interact with others.
Like Williams, much of the world has recognized that face-to-face communication is no longer the focus of augmentative and alternative communication. The world has changed its focus and people rely on the Internet for more and more of their daily actions. So, the AAC industry has tried to respond accordingly. Nevertheless, with a changing industry and a constantly evolving technological word, there are many challenges that the AAC industry is facing. As explained in the paper they include: physical access and control of the device, fluency and capability using technology, the cost, and societal blockades. In addition, the AAC world must solve physical, cognitive, and linguistic access issues that AAC users might face.
The global society is drastically changing, and the way that people communicate with each other, access information, and interact with others are advancing every day. These changes are also subsequently affecting the way that the AAC world is developing. The AAC world is creating new possibilities for AAC users, and with these new possibilities there are also many challenges. With more research, trial and error, and new development, the AAC world has a lot cut out for them in order to meet all AAC users needs and benefit them in the best way possible.
Ola Mundo is the next step in providing non-verbal people access to messaging and quick communication. It gives them the opportunity to reach people not in direct proximity to them and utilize symbols/ illustrations/ pictures to make messaging easy. As society changes and technology evolves, it is necessary for people without verbal skills to keep up. Ola Mundo provides them a new way to communicate just like their verbal peers in a fun, exciting and a truly enjoyable way.
Shane, Howard C., Sarah Blackstone, Gregg Vanderheiden, Michael Williams, and Frank Deruyter. “Using AAC Technology to Access the World.” Assistive Technology 24.1 (2012): 3-13. Web.