Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Holyfield, Christine

Committee Member/Reader

Frazier, Kimberly

Committee Member/Second Reader

Aslin, Larry


Background: The goal of completing this research was to explore the potential promise of the novel approach of applying physiological measures to AAC intervention for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) who are prelinguistic communicators. Purpose: The purpose of this project was to investigate the primary forms of prelinguistic communication and aided AAC used by a family with an individual with IDD and how taking physiological measurements might improve AAC intervention. Methodology: One family with an individual diagnosed with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD) who primarily utilized prelinguistic communication and frequently uses aided, linguistic augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) participated. The study used a qualitative case study method. The individual who participated in this case study was an adult male, twenty-seven years of age with Apraxia of Speech and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Due to this individual’s diagnoses, the interview took place with the individual’s primary caretaker, his mother. This interview included questions taken from an interview guide designed for this study. A computer and phone were utilized to obtain responses during the interview. A single interview virtually took place via Zoom with the family and individual with PIMD. The information collected during the interview process was analyzed and reviewed with consideration of the current research regarding physiological measures for individuals with IDD. Results: The participating mother reported benefits of AAC for interactions in her family including her son. The participant reported little interest in utilizing physiological measures during AAC intervention. She listed several reasons as to why AAC was beneficial for her family and did not feel any more could be contributed to AAC intervention that would yield real progress and/or improvement. Discussion: Through the information obtained, insight was gained in general regarding AAC intervention for individuals with IDD as perceived by their families. Insight was also gained regarding the potential hesitancy of some families to see value in uptake around including physiological information in AAC intervention. The good news is such hesitancy reflects positive feelings toward the status quo of AAC in the family. Research with a larger number of families is needed to understand whether this attitude is held by the majority of families, or whether it is uncommon. Further, more research is needed to understand factors influencing this opinion. Would her attitude change if provided with knowledge about how physiological information can be used in concert with observable behaviors and its potential utility with less familiar communication partners?


physiological measures, prelinguistic, AAC, profound and multiple disabilities