Cultural Factors in the Delivery of AAC Services to the African American Community Clinical practice in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is increasingly complex. There are a variety of approaches to assessment, as well as intervention (Beukelman & Mirenda, 1992; Beukelman, Yorkston, & Dowden, 1985; Blackstone, 1986; Huer, 1987; Huer, 1988; Huer, 1997). A review of the literature reveals, however, that only a ... Article
Article  |   March 01, 1999
Cultural Factors in the Delivery of AAC Services to the African American Community
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mary Blake Huer
    California State University—Fullerton
  • Toya Wyatt
    California State University—Fullerton
Article Information
Articles
Article   |   March 01, 1999
Cultural Factors in the Delivery of AAC Services to the African American Community
Perspectives on Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations, March 1999, Vol. 5, 5-9. doi:10.1044/cds5.1.5
Perspectives on Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations, March 1999, Vol. 5, 5-9. doi:10.1044/cds5.1.5
Clinical practice in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is increasingly complex. There are a variety of approaches to assessment, as well as intervention (Beukelman & Mirenda, 1992; Beukelman, Yorkston, & Dowden, 1985; Blackstone, 1986; Huer, 1987; Huer, 1988; Huer, 1997). A review of the literature reveals, however, that only a few practitioners have included the parameter of “culture” within their discussion of AAC service delivery (Soto, Huer, & Taylor, 1997).
Most recently, Huer (1997)  developed a culturally inclusive AAC Assessment Model in which she described and introduced a fourpart protocol that outlined strategies for self-assessment by practitioners and information-gathering pertaining to a consumer’s communication partners, communication needs, and capabilities. The term “inclusive” was selected for the Huer (1997)  model in order to emphasize the importance of addressing the cultural aspects of the communication that may vary when working with consumers from culturally and linguistically different backgrounds, who need AAC services (Harry et al., 1995). Huer’s model offered general guiding principles for practitioners offering services to consumers who do not share similar life experiences with the clinician performing the assessment. It was an initial attempt to infuse specific and appropriate questions into the evaluation process to ensure the collection of the most accurate and representative information in light of possible culturally based differences. Huer’s model, however, was not specific to any one population of consumers. The purpose of this article, therefore, is to examine three parts of the Huer model for identifying the communication needs, partners, and capabilities of children who may be severely physically and/or communicatively challenged and African American. Strategies for providing culturally appropriate and sensitive services to this population will be discussed.
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