Enhancing Vocabulary Selection for Preschoolers Who Require Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Karen A. Fallon, Janice Catherine Light, Tara Kramer Paige

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (SciVal)


Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems (e.g., communication books of line drawings, computer-based voice output systems) offer children with severe communication disabilities increased opportunities for participation in home, school, and community activities. However, without the appropriate vocabulary, AAC systems will not be effective. This project addressed the challenge of vocabulary selection for children who require AAC through two studies: (1) analysis of the vocabulary of typically developing preschoolers and (2) subsequent development and field testing of a vocabulary selection questionnaire. Language samples from five typically developing preschool children were analyzed to determine the words used and the content of the preschoolers' language. Results indicated that a large portion of the words used by the participants was accounted for by a relatively limited number of words. Using these data and data from other studies in the field, a vocabulary selection questionnaire for professionals and parents was developed and field-tested. A total of 45 speech-language pathologists, teachers, and parents indicated a high level of satisfaction, with 93% of informants reporting that they would use the tool again and 98% of informants indicating that they would recommend it to other parents and professionals. Results from both studies are presented and discussed with reference to clinical implications and future research directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-94
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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