The choice of which AAC device to provide for a child can have long lasting consequences, but little is known about the decision-making of AAC professionals who make recommendations in this context. A survey was conducted with AAC professionals using best–worst scaling methodology examining what characteristics of children and attributes of AAC devices are considered most important in decision-making. A total of 19 child characteristics and 18 device attributes were selected by the authors from lists generated from literature reviews and from focus groups with AAC professionals, people who use AAC, and other stakeholders. The characteristics and attributes were used to develop two best–worst scaling surveys that were administered to 93 AAC professionals based in the UK. The relative importance of characteristics/attributes was estimated using statistical modelling. Child characteristics related to language and communication, cognitive and learning abilities, and personality traits were generally found to be more important than physical features. Communication, language, and interface-related AAC device attributes were generally more important than hardware and physical attributes. Respondent demographics (e.g., experience, professional background) did not seem to influence the importance assigned to device characteristics or attributes. Findings may inform both future quantitative research into decision-making and efforts to improve decision-making in practice.
Webb, E.J.D., Meads, D., Lynch, Y., Randall, N., Judge, S., Goldbart, J., Meredith, S., Moulam, L., Hess, S. & Murray, J. (2019), What’s Important in AAC Decision Making for Children? Evidence from a Best-worst Scaling Survey. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 35(2), pp. 80-94.