One's Voice: A Central Component of Personal Factors in Augmentative and Alternative Communication Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices have opened the gates to interaction for those with severe communication impairments. In the assessment and intervention, all components of the World Health Organization's International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) should be addressed. However, an important Personal Factor to full integration has ... Article
Article  |   November 14, 2016
One's Voice: A Central Component of Personal Factors in Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Rupal Patel
    Departments of Communication Sciences and Disorders and Computer and Information Science, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
    VocaliD Inc., Belmont, MA
  • Travis T. Threats
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO
  • Disclosures
    Disclosures ×
  • Financial: Rupal Patel is the founder of VocaliD Inc., which is referenced in the paper. Travis T. Threats has no relevant financial interests to disclose.
    Financial: Rupal Patel is the founder of VocaliD Inc., which is referenced in the paper. Travis T. Threats has no relevant financial interests to disclose.×
  • Nonfinancial: Rupal Patel has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Travis T. Threats served as the guest editor for this Part of Perspectives.
    Nonfinancial: Rupal Patel has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose. Travis T. Threats served as the guest editor for this Part of Perspectives.×
Article Information
Augmentative & Alternative Communication / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Part 3
Article   |   November 14, 2016
One's Voice: A Central Component of Personal Factors in Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, November 2016, Vol. 1, 94-98. doi:10.1044/persp1.SIG12.94
History: Received April 13, 2016 , Revised May 30, 2016 , Accepted June 11, 2016
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, November 2016, Vol. 1, 94-98. doi:10.1044/persp1.SIG12.94
History: Received April 13, 2016; Revised May 30, 2016; Accepted June 11, 2016

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices have opened the gates to interaction for those with severe communication impairments. In the assessment and intervention, all components of the World Health Organization's International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) should be addressed. However, an important Personal Factor to full integration has been largely ignored—that of one's voice. Each one of us has a unique voice that conveys our age, cultural background and personality—it's how people know and remember you. These affordances of the natural voice are not available to those who express themselves using AAC devices. A personalized digital voice brings the field of AAC to a closer realization of the social model of disability in which individuals are not defined by their disability and it is just one aspect of them. Access to a personalized voice uplifts the AAC user and provides an opportunity for social and emotional engagement that enhances quality of life.

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