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Survey of AAC Needs for Adults with Intellectual Disability in New Zealand


We surveyed New Zealand residential facilities/assisted-living programs for adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) to document the need for, and provision of, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Organizations (n = 100) registered to provide residential care/assisted-living to adults with ID across New Zealand were invited to complete a paper or online survey. Fifty seven organizations representing 127 separate facilities/assisted living programs responded. The facilities/programs accommodated 2,356 adults and employed 3,062 staff. Nearly one-third (28.8 %) of the adults were identified as candidates for AAC intervention. However, most staff had limited or no AAC experience and perceived considerable need for training in this area. We conclude there is substantial need for AAC intervention among adults with ID in New Zealand residential facilities/assisted-living programs. To facilitate this, support staff may need training to ensure effective interaction with AAC users and competence in providing effective AAC intervention.

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Financial Support for this research was provided by the New Zealand Government through the Health Research Council, Victoria University of Wellington, The University of Canterbury, The New Zealand Institute of Language, Brain & Behaviour, and the Donald Beasley Institute. The authors report no conflicts of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of this paper. The authors thank the participating organizations for their cooperation in completing the survey.

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Correspondence to Jeff Sigafoos.

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Sutherland, D., van der Meer, L., Sigafoos, J. et al. Survey of AAC Needs for Adults with Intellectual Disability in New Zealand. J Dev Phys Disabil 26, 115–122 (2014).

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  • Adults
  • Augmentative and alternative communication
  • Intellectual disability
  • Needs survey
  • New Zealand