Abstract

Empirical evidence supports the notion of special education teachers receiving limited pre-service training in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). This lack of training is not only evident in the United States but in other countries such as United Kingdom, India, and Israel. Yet the teaching demands for the use of AAC are increasing as more students with complex communication needs are entering the school systems. As a result, this paper outlines four special education teacher competencies needed to effectively address the communication needs of these students. The four competencies consist of the needs for training in the areas of (1) communication development and communicative competencies, (2) teamwork and collaborative practices, (3) role and functions of AAC systems, and (4) AAC assessment and instructional strategies. These competencies are aligned to the standards from the Council for Exceptional Children and the literature available on AAC training. Evidence suggests there is a lack of training for special education teachers and other professionals in this area and limited research to guide teacher preparation programs.

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