Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


Educational Studies


Special Education

First Advisor

Mitchell Yell


The purpose of this combined-method study, using both quantitative and qualitative methods, was to examine the positive and negative attitudes of 188 typically developing adolescents in grades 9 through 12 toward augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) modalities. I developed a survey, the Augmentative and Alternative Social Validity Survey, specifically for this study. I assessed three components of attitudes: affect, behavior, and cognition and the role of gender and grade level on attitudes toward three AAC methods: sign language, picture-symbols, and a voice output communication aid. The Social Validity Framework provided the conceptual basis used to assess the social significance of goals, methods, and outcomes. My results suggested that when typically developing adolescents have to turn their thoughts and feelings into actions that students, males more so than females, do not always interact with students with disabilities in a positive, accepting manner. Additionally, adolescent males were found to have a more negative attitude than adolescent females when participating in activities with peers who use AAC. Further evidence was obtained by analyzing open-ended written responses from the survey. The qualitative results were grouped and analyzed by overall themes related to each AAC. Discussion of these results and implications for future research were recommended.


© 2011, Sally Louise Alexander