Purpose: Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems are very often abandoned by the users and caregivers due to potential challenges in implementation. This study aimed at exploring the use of Communication Supports Inventory-Children and Youth (CSI-CY), based on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health-Children and Youth (ICF-CY), as a potential tool for identifying barriers and facilitators in AAC implementation in the southern part of India.
Method: The CSI-CY was administered to the parents of a child with cerebral palsy and a child with autism spectrum disorder, respectively. Environmental facilitators and barriers that affect communication were rated. A semi-structuredinterview was also conducted to identify additional barriers and facilitators as identified by parents.
Results: Barriers related to services and policies, people and assistive technology, were identified for both cases. Additionally, the semi-structured interview identified barriers related to myths, clinicians, child, AAC use, economy andsociety.
Conclusion: CSI-CY is a potential tool for clinicians to systematically identify and document barriers and facilitators to implement AAC. It can further assist them in setting goals and defining the necessary intervention for each child with disability. Early use of AAC contributes to better therapeutic outcomes. Training should be given to professionals, special need educators and school teachers about different AACs and the appropriate techniques to be used. Counselling and evidence from earlier successful AAC interventions can dispel existing myths. Awareness programmes, group discussions and training on AAC can be done to eliminate barriers that may exist among rehabilitation professionals in India.