Mexican-American family members' perceptions of augmentative and alternative communication devices: An ethnography
Mary Shannon McCord, University of California, Berkeley with the University of California, San Francisco, United States
University of California, Berkeley with the University of California, San Francisco . Awarded
Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices are increasingly being provided to students with severe communication disorders to facilitate the students' communication repertoires and access to classroom curriculum. Researchers are finding that AAC has a greater chance of increasing communicative competence when the individual's cultural needs are also considered. However, the literature suggests that AAC devices are not actually used as often for communication in the home environment. This research used ethnographic methodologies to describe and interpret the experiences of four Mexican-American augmented communicators within the context of their families in order to better understand the role of AAC devices at home for a culturally non-dominant group.
Extensive fieldwork including open-ended interviews with family members; naturalistic participant observations in the home, school and community; and artifact review were employed to investigate the family members' perceptions of the role of AAC devices in their lives. Results are organized thematically and analyzed to reflect the perceptions of the family members. The findings indicate that AAC devices were not perceived to be particularly important, relevant or impactful for interactions with the Mexican-American family members. In addition, family members perceived that the fluency and complexity of the conversations were not increased with AAC device use due to language barriers and cultural preferences for speed and intimacy. Family members also found that they misinterpreted the AAC user more often with technology and were more successful and efficient without it. However, all of the focus participants' families said that they valued interactions with AAC at the right time and place.
This ethnographic research project confirmed much of what researchers already know about family-based AAC issues and culturally aware intervention strategies. It also generated new ideas and established new frameworks for investigating issues of cultural and linguistic diversity in AAC delivery from the perspective of the family. The paper concludes with the identification of possible implications for family-centered decision making, for practitioners, and for funding agencies when considering AAC devices for culturally diverse individuals.
McCord, M.S. Mexican-American family members' perceptions of augmentative and alternative communication devices: An ethnography. Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Berkeley with the University of California, San Francisco.
Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.
For copies of dissertations and theses: (800) 521-0600/(734) 761-4700 or https://dissexpress.umi.com