A comprehensive text that will appeal to speech and language therapists at all stages of their careers, from undergraduate through to seasoned professionals working directly in the field.
Despite there being 64 contributors (mostly from the US), the editors have successfully managed to ensure a logical flow to the chapters, taking the reader from the system and language fundamentals of no/low, mid and high-tech examples of AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) through to assessment and interventions with differing caseloads spanning child to teenager to adult across a number of settings. Powerful use of case studies bring the individuals’ unique circumstances and requirements from AAC to life – much is made of the necessity to develop the system with the individual’s collaboration using vocabulary and phrases that are meaningful to them. I know from experience that communication charts rustled up by the well-meaning SLTs without such collaboration are destined to gather dust in a drawer and never see the light of day. There is refreshing consideration to cultural aspects of the individual’s life, whether this be faith or sexuality, and how this can be represented via AAC – the vocabulary lists are particularly useful.
The text is interspersed with essays that are thought provoking – i.e. expansion of the digital arena and its effects on AAC and ethical considerations in critical health situations (informed consent) – and could be useful journal club topics, prompting wider discussion.
As a manager in an acute setting, I was particularly impressed by the chapters on dementia, neurodegenerative disorders and the intensive care setting, and have been prompted to consider how we deliver an appropriate AAC service to these patients.
My only criticism would be that the text overall is quite US centric with an assumption that all readers understand the US healthcare system and funding mechanisms for AAC.