Date of Award

Spring 5-2023

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Speech and Hearing Sciences

Committee Chair

Dr. L. Amanda Mathews

Committee Member 2

Dr. Sangam Ankmnal Veeranna

Committee Member 3

Mrs. Mary Schaub

Committee Member 4

Mrs. Sarah Myers


Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) must address caregiver education and training throughout early intervention, including when implementing augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Previous research has made recommendations describing practices for SLPs in this area, such as incorporating direct instruction and caregiver participation, as well as addressed how recommendations compare to implementation of these strategies in actual practice. Two parallel surveys were created to examine SLP and caregiver experiences and opinions of various topics and methods utilized in AAC caregiver education and training. 19 SLPs and 5 caregivers completed the surveys. SLPs notably exhibited differences in practice and opinions related to the methods examined, especially regarding caregiver participation. Various characteristics of SLPs may be associated with differences in perceptions, practices, and opinions related to AAC education and training, such as self-identification as a specialist, perceived proficiency, years of experience, and graduate school education. Potential barriers to implementation of highly rated methods include restraints on caregiver participation and time, lack of information/misinformation, lack of funding/accessing a device, lack of agreeance on roles, lack of buy-in, and setting-dependent factors. Further research is needed to explore these areas and feasible solutions.