Current Projects

The Communication Matrix (Rowland 2004), is a communication skills assessment designed for parents and professionals to evaluate the communication skills of individuals functioning at the earliest stages of communication. The instrument accommodates any form of communication, including pre-symbolic and augmentative or alternative forms. This instrument is now available online and is available free of charge through the following web site:

Communication Matrix Sample Customized Report

Using the ICF-CY to Guide Communication Instruction for AAC Learners

The International Classification of Function-Children and Youth Version (ICF-CY), developed by the World Health Organization, provides a systematic coding scheme for characterizing health information that stresses human functioning (rather than disability), a universal model (rather than a minority model), an interactive/integrative model (rather than a linear model confined to medical or social spheres) and wide cultural applicability. It addresses the context of function, not just the person whose function is evaluated. The ICF-CY model involves Body Functions and Structure, Activities and Participation related to a health condition or disability as well as contextual factors (Environmental and Personal) that affect them. The ICF-CY is particularly well-suited for non-speaking children who use augmentative and alternative forms of communication (AAC) because it completely separates speech functions from communication functions (unlike most existing communication assessments) and it includes a strand on communication devices. The ICF-CY offers a participation model that crosses educational, medical and social barriers that presently limit the documentation of AAC skills and the development of appropriate AAC instructional goals.

This project will develop and evaluate a new "AAC-ICF" framework based on the ICF-CY to profile communication strengths and needs and to guide communication intervention in children who use AAC. The target population is children in public school K-12 programs who experience severe communication disorders and who use AAC to augment or replace speech. We will recruit special educators and speech-language pathologists from across the nation to use the new AAC-ICF framework so that we can evaluate its reliability and validity for developing standardized IEP goals that drive systematic AAC intervention. (U.S. Department of Education)