Augmentative and Alternative Communication Continuing Education in the Schools: A National Survey
Kumberg, Katelyn Maria
University of Kansas
Intercampus Program in Communicative Disorders
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This study examined the continuing education obtained by speech-language pathologists working in a school setting in the area of AAC, including the factors that influenced decisions regarding continuing education. A survey entitled “AAC Continuing Education in the Schools: A National Survey” was hosted online. Speech-language pathologists’ participation was solicited through school districts selected at random, state speech-language pathology organizations, online community boards, and various speech-language pathology Facebook groups and pages. A total of 232 individuals participated in this study and provided demographic information, information about their school setting, information about their caseloads, their knowledge and experience with augmentative and alternative communication, as well as information about the continuing education they had obtained in the last five years. The results from this study revealed that 66% of participants obtained augmentative and alternative communication continuing education within the last five years. Participants cited the needs of students on their caseloads and the need to update or maintain knowledge as reasons for obtaining continuing education. In addition, participants reported price and location as factors influencing where they obtain continuing education. Implications for speech-language pathologists who work in a school setting include the need to effectively examine their knowledge and skills in the area of AAC, the needs of students on their caseload, and anticipate future needs to identify and obtain AAC continuing education. In addition, speech-language pathologists should advocate for the continuing needs within their school district. Implications for continuing education providers include examining the needs of speech-language pathologists in the field to guide creation of continuing education opportunities. Identified needs include AAC assessment and clarifying erroneous belief.
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