LSA's perspectives on factors influencing the inclusion of AAC users in a mainstream classroom
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Children with complex communication needs are increasingly being included into mainstream education. This study used a qualitative interview methodology to identify the perspectives of learning support assistants (LSAs) in the inclusion of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) users in a mainstream classroom. Information was gathered from five participants on the components of successful inclusion. Participants discussed inclusion barriers and supports related to the AAC system, the curriculum, LSAs, the AAC users, their peers, the school, teachers, and the team practices involved in the process. Results were discussed with reference to the current literature as well as the clinical implications for speech and language therapists (SLTs), who play a key role in AAC interventions. AAC intervention needs to be structured to reflect the demands of mainstream environments. AAC users require well-planned communicative and learning environments adapted to their needs in order to participate. Therefore, a holistic approach is required to ensure that education staff, such as LSAs, are supported to include these pupils. LSAs were identified as potential valuable resources for SLTs facing increasing service provision demands.