Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Major Professor

Howard Goldstein, Ph.D.


gestural communication, communication boards, speech-generating devices, complex communication needs


Although Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems have gained increasing acceptance in the US, they are not well-known and broadly used in Thailand. To begin introducing AAC systems and interventions to children with complex communication needs (CCNs) in Thailand, understanding Speech-Language Pathologists’ (SLP) perceptions toward various AAC systems is considered an important first step. This study assessed SLPs’ perceptions toward three AAC modalities: gestural communication, communication boards, and speech-generating devices. All SLPs in Thailand (n ~ 200) were invited to participate. A total of 78 SLPs watched three video vignettes with a Thai child illustrating each AAC mode. They then rated their impressions of (a) intelligibility, (b) ease of learnability and use, (c) effectiveness, and (d) preference. SLPs also were asked what mode they would recommend for a child with nonverbal communication or CCNs and for themselves. They rated 9 factors that provided additional insights into considerations that may be specific to Thailand and other developing countries. SLPs perceived different advantages when considering using each AAC mode. The results indicated that most Thai SLPs rated SGDs as being the more intelligible, effective, and preferred mode. Gestural communication was rated as the easiest mode to learn and use for a child with CCNs and had advantages in terms of affordability, maintenance, portability, and durability. Communication boards had the advantage in affordability as this mode could be accessed by children with diverse socioeconomic status. In conclusion, SGDs were perceived to have greater socially acceptance among SLPs over gesturalcommunication and communication boards as the modality used to promote communication abilities of children with CCNs in Thailand. Although these results provide insights into how AAC systems are currently perceived by relatively knowledgeable professionals in Thailand, these results also revealed some biases or lack of knowledge that is likely due to a lack of training and experience with AAC systems and their current uses in other developed nations.