Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction (EdD)


Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum

First Advisor

Dr. Pamela Williamson

Second Advisor

Dr. Amanda Kulp

Third Advisor

Dr. David Hoppey

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Anita Charles

Department Chair

Christian Winterbottom

College Dean

Jen Kane


Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems play a crucial role in enhancing communication, language development, and learning for children with complex communication needs (CCN). Research suggests that AAC can significantly improve interaction with communication partners and mitigate risks in various developmental areas such as functional communication skills, speech, social engagement, and academic participation.

Early intervention is paramount for children with CCN to foster speech and language development, enabling them to express needs, interact socially, and lay the groundwork for future language skills. Introducing AAC systems early on and ensuring frequent exposure are essential for natural integration. Parents and caregivers must familiarize themselves with the system to support effective communication exchanges and model language use consistently.

Encouraging children with CCN to engage in communication exchanges across diverse settings and with different partners is critical for skill generalization. Effective parent training programs have shown positive outcomes in enhancing parental comfort and proficiency in using specific communication interventions and AAC tools at home. By participating in targeted training on early communication development, core vocabulary utilization, and aided language input techniques, parents have reported increased confidence in employing AAC strategies across various contexts with their children.