Murray State Theses and Dissertations


Teaching early literacy to typically developing individuals is widely practiced and has a vast amount of research backing its success (Strum et. al., 2006). Current research has shown that both children and adult augmentative and alternative (AAC) users are underachieving in the development of reading and spelling skills, but the underachievement in these areas is not correlated to a lack of cognitive and linguistic abilities (Sandberg, Smith, Larsson, 2010). Like their typically developing peers, AAC users must have the same repeated opportunities to participate in a wide range of literacy tasks to attain literacy skills (Strum et. al., 2006).

Children with issues in acquiring language are at higher risk for having difficulty in acquiring skills not only in speech, but in reading and writing development (Spracher, 2000). Literacy skills will provide AAC users with an outlet for educational opportunities, vocational opportunities, self-expression, potential for independent living, entertainment, and prevention of communication breakdowns in face- to-face conversations (Light, 2008; Erickson, 2003). It is not the responsibility of an SLP to duplicate the literacy education provided by a teacher, but to help promote a student's skill during therapeutic speech and language interventions (Pebly & Koppenhaver, 2001).

The purpose of this study was to determine if a training program for a literate partner to implement with the AAC user to increase \ emergent literacy skills will be successful and if the literate partners will notice a difference in literacy skills in the normal environment of the AAC user. Intervention consisted of the implementation of the parent-training program on literacy development and education for AAC users in the home. A pretest posttest design was used to determine the effectiveness of the parent-training program following an 8-week period of implementation.

The participants demonstrated minimal improvements in emergent literacy skills based on caregiver report via surveys, but quantitative improvements were not observed due to inability to complete statistical analysis. Further research in literacy development for AAC users is necessary.

Year manuscript completed


Year degree awarded


Author's Keywords

augmentative alternative communication, literacy, caregiver training, emergent literacy, AAC

Degree Awarded

Master of Science


Communication Disorders


College of Education & Human Services

Thesis Advisor

Karen Coulter

Committee Member

Sharon Hart

Committee Member

Christina Grant

Document Type