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Today’s most comprehensive, up-to-date introduction to AAC interventions and technologies

Augmentative & Alternative Communication

Supporting Children and Adults with Complex Communication Needs, Fifth Edition

Edited by David R. Beukelman, Ph.D , & Janice C. Light, Ph.D. with invited contributors

This classic bestseller is now in its fifth edition—revised and updated for a new generation of SLPs, teachers, occupational therapists, and other professionals in clinical and educational settings. Partnering with a team of distinguished contributors, renowned experts David Beukelman and Janice Light deliver today’s most comprehensive, up-to-date introduction to AAC interventions and technologies for children and adults with complex communication needs.

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What’s new in the fifth edition

Professionals will prepare for their work in the field with critical new information on:

  • Collaborating with family members and other communication partners
  • Making the most of mobile technologies and AAC apps
  • Selecting an AAC system and tailoring it to individual needs
  • Working effectively with families from diverse cultural backgrounds
  • Supporting inclusion across the lifespan (including education, employment, and community life)
  • Ensuring efficient patient-provider communication in medical settings
  • Providing communication supports to people with autism spectrum disorder

Want to learn more about this edition? See the full listing.


Supplement your teaching with these Online Companion Materials

  • Sample syllabus
  • Resource guide to help practitioners and students learn more about AAC
  • Sample responses to study questions

Meet the volume editors

David R. Beukelman, Ph.D.

Dr. Beukelman is currently a senior researcher in the Institute for Rehabilitation Science and Engineering at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital and a research investigator in the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Dr. Beukelman specializes in the areas of augmentative and alternative communication and motor speech disorders of children and adults.
Full bio »

Janice C. Light, Ph.D.
Dr. Light holds the Hintz Family Endowed Chair in Children’s Communicative Competence in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Pennsylvania State University. She is actively involved in research, personnel preparation, service delivery, and outreach to enhance communication and improve outcomes for children with complex communication needs (e.g., children with autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and other disabilities).
Full bio »


Invited Contributors: Laura J. Ball, Ph.D.Susan Koch Fager, Ph.D.Kathryn L. Garrett, Ph.D., CCC-SLPElizabeth K. Hanson, Ph.D., CCC-SLPJulia King Fischer, Ph.D.Joanne P. Lasker, Ph.D., CCC-SLPDavid B. McNaughton, Ph.D.Amy S. Nordness, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

View the table of contents

About the Authors
About the Contributors
About the Online Companion Materials

Section I    People Who Require Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Chapter 1    Augmentative and Alternative Communication Processes for Children and Adults with Complex Communication Needs
Chapter 2    AAC Assessment
Chapter 3    Overview of AAC Intervention
Chapter 4    Collaborating with Family Members and Other Communication Partners

Section II    Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems
Chapter 5   Vocabulary Selection and Message Management
Chapter 6    Representation, Organization, and Layout of AAC Systems
Chapter 7    Access Techniques and Output
Chapter 8    Selection and Personalization of AAC Systems

Section III    Augmentative and Alternative Communication Interventions for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
Chapter 9    Key Considerations in Augmentative and Alternative Communication Intervention for People With Developmental Disabilities
Chapter 10    Intervention to Support Communication and Participation of Beginning Communicators
Chapter 11    Intervention to Build Communicative Competence
Chapter 12    Literacy Intervention for Individuals with Complex Communication Needs
Chapter 13    Intervention to Enhance Participation in Education, Employment, and Community Settings

Section IV    Augmentative and Alternative Communication Interventions for Individuals with Acquired Disabilities
Chapter 14    Individuals with Acquired Physical Conditions
Chapter 15    AAC Supports for Adults with Severe Aphasia and/or Apraxia of Speech
Chapter 16    Adults with Degenerative Cognitive and Linguistic Conditions
Chapter 17    Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury
Chapter 18    Patient-Provider Communication in Medical Settings
Chapter 19    The Importance of Advocacy


More resources

  • handy chart that shows you what’s been added and updated in the new edition
  • book excerpt that includes the full table of contents
  • sample course outline that shows how to use this new edition in the classroom
  • written Q&A with the authors about the benefits of and updates to the new edition
  • slide deck with a comprehensive overview of the new edition