On this page, you will find useful resources relating to learning, research and policy in the field of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).

Please note: the resources on this page are provided for informational purposes only. No endorsement is expressed or implied, unless otherwise stated. While we make every effort to ensure this page is up to date and relevant, we cannot take responsibility for pages maintained by external providers.

Please contact us if you have any suggestions or feedback on these pages.

Last updated: May 2024

Research and evidence

Some key resources and pieces of research are highlighted on these pages but they are not exhaustive and you should always carry out your own searches relating to a specific topic area to be assured you are accessing the most up-to-date research and evidence.

Useful starting points include SpeechBITE™, What Works and Evidence Maps  from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. You can also access more than 1,600 titles via the RCSLT journals collection.

You need to use your own critical appraisal skills when considering the quality of any piece of research, whether found on these pages or elsewhere. This will include consideration of how relevant it is to your practice and the specific people you are working with.

Please see our pages on evidence-based practice for more support on finding and critically appraising research evidence.


Evidence resources

  • PenCRU provide summaries of existing evidence in relation to specific questions relating to childhood disability.


Systematic reviews

We have highlighted systematic reviews here because, if well-conducted, they should take into account all the relevant evidence relating to a specific research question, then appraise and synthesize this in way which can help inform decision making. However, you still need to use your own critical appraisal skills when considering the quality of a systematic review, as with any piece of research.

Systematic reviews

  • Berenguer, C., Martínez, E.R., De Stasio, S. and Baixauli, I. (2022). ‘Parents’ perceptions and experiences with their children’s use of augmentative/alternative communication: A systematic review and qualitative meta-synthesis’, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health19(13), p.8091.
  • Biggs, E.E., Carter, W. and Gilson, C.B. (2018) ‘Systematic review of interventions involving aided AAC modelling for children with complex communication needs’ American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities123(5), pp.443-473.
  • Broomfield, K., Harrop, D., Judge, S., Jones, G. and Sage, K. (2019) ‘Appraising the quality of tools used to record patient-reported outcomes in users of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC): A systematic review’. Quality of Life Research28, pp.2669-2683.
  • Dooley, J., Bailey, C. and McCabe, R. (2015) ‘Communication in healthcare interactions in dementia: A systematic review of observational studies’ International Psychogeriatrics27(8), pp.1277-1300.
  • Hanley, E., Martin, A.M., Dalton, C. and Lehane, E. (2023) ‘Communication partners experiences of communicating with adults with severe/profound intellectual disability through augmentative and alternative communication: A mixed methods systematic review’ Journal of Intellectual Disabilities27(4), pp.1107-1134.
  • Harrison, R.A., Bradshaw, J., Forrester‐Jones, R., McCarthy, M. and Smith, S. (2021) ‘Social networks and people with intellectual disabilities: A systematic review’ Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities34(4), pp.973-992.
  • Lynch, Y., McCleary, M. and Smith, M. (2018) ‘Instructional strategies used in direct AAC interventions with children to support graphic symbol learning: A systematic review’ Child Language Teaching and Therapy34(1), pp.23-36.
  • Moorcroft, A., Scarinci, N. and Meyer, C. (2019) ‘A systematic review of the barriers and facilitators to the provision and use of low-tech and unaided AAC systems for people with complex communication needs and their families’ Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 14(7), pp.710-731
  • Shire, S.Y. and Jones, N. (2015) ‘Communication partners supporting children with complex communication needs who use AAC: A systematic review’ Communication Disorders Quarterly37(1), pp.3-15.
  • Ware, J., Buell, S., Chadwick, D.D., Bradshaw, J. and Goldbart, J. (2024) ‘A systematic review of research on staff training as an intervention to develop communication in children and adults with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities’ Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities37(2), p.e13201.

Scoping reviews

  • Bean, A., Harris, K., Kim, H., DiGiovine, C. and Sonntag, A.M. (2023) ‘A scoping review of communication outcomes measures in augmentative and alternative communication’ Assistive Technology, 13, pp.1-22.
  • Burnham, S.P., Finak, P., Henderson, J.T., Gaurav, N., Batorowicz, B., Pinder, D. and Davies, T.C. (2023) ‘Models and frameworks for guiding assessment for aided augmentative and alternative communication (AAC): A scoping review’ Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, pp.1-15.
  • Cave, R. and Bloch, S. (2023) ‘The use of speech recognition technology by people living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: A scoping review’ Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology18(7), pp.1043-1055.
  • Dada, S., Van der Walt, C., May, A.A. and Murray, J. (2021)’ Intelligent assistive technology devices for persons with dementia: A scoping review’ Assistive Technology, pp.1-14.
  • Dooley, S. and Walshe, M. (2019) ‘Assessing cognitive communication skills in dementia: A scoping review’ International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders54(5), pp.729-741.
  • Douglas, N.F., Feuerstein, J.L., Oshita, J.Y., Schliep, M.E. and Danowski, M.L. (2022) ‘Implementation science research in communication sciences and disorders: A scoping review’ American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology31(3), pp.1054-1083.
  • Douglas, N.F., Archer, B., Azios, J.H., Strong, K.A., Simmons-Mackie, N. and Worrall, L. (2023) ‘A scoping review of friendship intervention for older adults: Lessons for designing intervention for people with aphasia’ Disability and Rehabilitation45(18), pp.3012-3031.
  • Stipinovich, A.M., Tönsing, K. and Dada, S. (2023) ‘Communication strategies to support decision‐making by persons with aphasia: A scoping review’ International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders58(6), pp.1955-1976.

Rapid reviews

  • Elmquist, M., Simacek, J., Dimian, A.F. and Reichle, J. (2019) ‘Impact of aided AAC interventions on speech comprehension of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities: A critically appraised topic’ Evidence-based Communication Assessment and Intervention13(1-2), pp.67-84.
  • Thiessen, A. and Brown, J. (2021) ‘Personalization of restorative and compensatory treatments for people with aphasia: A review of the evidence’ Topics in Language Disorders41(3), pp.269-281.


For further reading, see RCSLT AAC guidance reference list

Legislation and policy








Northern Ireland





Learning resources


Useful organisations


Useful resources




Awareness raising dates

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