Spontaneity of augmentative and alternative communication in persons with intellectual disabilities

Critical review

Mark Carter*, Greg D. Hotchkis, Mary C. Cassar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

12 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the issue of communicative spontaneity in natural environments of persons with intellectual disabilities who rely on augmentative or alternative communication (AAC) systems. A number of data-based studies are examined and their findings discussed. Unfortunately, interpretation of existing research is complicated by a number of factors including outdated conceptualizations and definitions of spontaneity. It is argued that future research needs to adopt a more sophisticated model of spontaneity and systematically investigate a broad range of environmental variables that may occasion communication in persons with severe disabilities. Such fundamental research may well provide a foundation for the development of more effective strategies to enhance spontaneity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-109
Number of pages13
JournalAAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1996


  • Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)
  • Mental retardation
  • Spontaneity

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