Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education



First Advisor

Paul LaCava


A qualitative methodology was used to investigate the perceptions of four students and their communication team members regarding many facets of augmentative and alternative communication systems. A multiple case study design with cases across three academic levels within a public school district was implemented. Information was gathered through semi-structured interviews, document review, and observations. Four themes emerged from the data: “They told us about it” (Laurette), “Give our kids relationships” (Elizabeth), team approach, and working with AAC. Participants described their experience in regards to decision-making, ideal function, training, usage, maintenance, benefits, and challenges. Participants expressed a lack of choice when deciding on an AAC system. The communication team emphasized the lack of training to use an AAC system and the alternatives they seek to become proficient. Participants highlighted the benefits and challenges of using and working with an AAC system. The lack of data collection was also discussed when determining the effectiveness of an AAC system for a student. Results are discussed with implications and directions for future research.



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