All Theses, Dissertations, and Capstone Projects

Year of Award



Master of Science (MS)


College of Education & Allied Health


Communication Disorders and Deaf Education

First Advisor

Gale B. Rice

Second Advisor

Lynne Shields

Third Advisor

Susan T. Lenihan


curriculum, instructional, access, disabilities, functional, content, communication


Typically, students who require augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems do not demonstrate commensurate academic standards as their typically developing peers. According to IDEA, students with disabilities should have individual education plans (IEPs) that address academic standards. The purpose of this study is to (a) determine whether the IEP goals and objectives included in AAC user’s IEPs pertain to academics; (b) determine which subjects are most frequently targeted; (c) identify the most frequent educational diagnoses received among AAC users; and (d) determine the amount of time students who use AAC spend in the general education setting. IEPs of 21 students who require AAC, ages 5-18, were blindly and independently reviewed and coded with respect to educational diagnoses and academic needs, percentage of goals specifically addressing academics and academic areas targeted. It was determined that 29% of goals and 33% of objectives in the IEPS included curricular content with math and reading being the most frequently targeted subjects. Additionally, 15 students who use AAC spent less than 40% of the time in the general education setting. Non-academic areas observed within the IEPs will be discussed as well as implications with the Common Core State Standards. A future direction of research includes conducting a multi-centered study with an increased sample size.

Document Type

Restricted Thesis


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