Master’s student Megan Hoorn lead the PSU AAC Colloquium discussion with an overview of what she has been learning in consideration of the experiences of persons who communicate with AAC and sexuality/relationships. This included sharing information from Megan’s poster session at TASH 2016 about her own research to-date. [Powerpoint slides]
TASH Abstract: Sexuality plays an important role in what it means to be human, and has an intricate connection within and throughout our lives. (Pownall, Jahoda, & Hastings, 2012; Bernert & Ogletree, 2013). Research literature documents many aspects of disability and sexuality however very limited research investigates how the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) impacts the development and maintenance of intimate relationships. Communication is imperative for developing sexuality. In a study completed by Friedman, Arnold, Owen, and Sandman, self-advocates with intellectual and developmental disabilities identified communication as a crucial aspect of practicing sexual self-advocacy especially in the terms of speaking up, accessing information, and building healthy and positive relationships (2014). For people with complex communication needs, who primarily use AAC for communication, this presents an added layer of complexity.
This research study seeks to help professionals in the fields of communication sciences and disorders and AAC development to understand the experiences of individuals who use AAC. It also seeks to provide individuals who use AAC with information about the experiences of sexuality and relationships that other individuals who use AAC have shared.
Participants in the research study have completed interview via email. For more information please contact Megan Hoorn (firstname.lastname@example.org).