Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Gloria Kieley

Committee Member

Roberta Schomburg

Committee Member

Kimberly Durham


augmentative and alternative communication, bilingual, diversity


As more and more students enter public schools with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds that require services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, facilitators must be more sensitive to the needs, especially in the area of communication. Augmentative and alternative communication devices and other assistive technology are required by law to be utilized with individuals identified as disabled. However, due to the challenges that exist in properly identifying and implementing intervention plans for children who require services as English language learners and special education, communication needs are often misidentified or not provided. Another issue that exists is the lack of focus on the cultural and linguistical needs of dually identified students by educators, which often leads to many students remaining academically behind their peers.

This applied dissertation was designed to explore and review the current literature on the issues surrounding the challenges schools face when students require services under ELL and special education when communication interventions must be implemented. This would include the use of AAC devices with bilingual families and how educational professionals can help modify the devices to accommodate communication needs at home and school through collaboration with families. The analysis of responses to survey questions revealed the hurdles faced by educational professionals and helped gain a better understanding of the strategies, support, and training required for students to maximize their educational experience and quality of life through the use of AAC devices and other assistive technology.