There is a critical need to understand teaching and technology supports that enable students who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems to engage in meaningful literacy experiences and foster conventional literacy skills. To thrive in classroom environments, they must have access to tools that can support them in active and independent literacy learning. These students need technology that allows them to move seamlessly between reading, writing, and communicating. They require technology that takes into account access needs, individual learning needs, the learning demands of technology, and literacy development across grades. Families and school teams need information that will assist them in providing die best tools and the most appropriate content within these tools throughout die school day. Teachers need information that supports them in providing exemplary literacy instruction to students who use AAC systems. This article explores and summarizes factors impacting literacy learning, including literacy capabilities of school-age students who use AAC, communication in literacy learning and use, reading and writing instruction in general education classrooms, and technology to support literacy learning. It is important that future technology tools provide a platform for levels of literacy learning: The power of technology will be reflected in its ability to provide access to and display the right content at die right time for students who use AAC. This article summarizes current factors thought to influence literacy learning and discusses priorities for future research and technology development.
- Augmentative and alternative communication