Augmentative Communication Program | Research and Innovation

The Augmentative Communication Program has a rich history in the design, development and research of assistive technology in issues related to augmentative communication. Clinicians and researchers in the Augmentative Communication Program are continually exploring solutions for persons diagnosed with multiple communication impairments.

Current Research Projects

  • Dysarthric speech recognition
  • AAC in the Intensive Care Unit
  • AAC to enhance patient-nurse communication
  • AAC and End of Life communication
  • Feature Matching AAC apps and iDevice selection
  • Message Banking 
  • Eye gaze communication systems
  • Software design for individuals with anomia and those on the autism spectrum
  • Visual supports for persons on the autism spectrum
  • Two way video modeling for persons on the autism spectrum
  • Virtual sound environments for the deaf and hard of hearing. In conjunction with the Habilitative Audiology Program and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program, we are developing a computer software program that introduces a visual prompt, such as a flash on the screen, for children with hearing disorders. Such a program will make the thousands of educational software programs that are available for the general public, finally accessible to the hearing-impaired.

RERC on Communication Enhancement

The Augmentative Communication Program is a partner in the RERC on Communication Enhancement. This research project involves visual interest of persons with autism spectrum disorders including visual scene displays.  Learn more about the Center for Communication Enhancement.

Hospital-based Picture Communication Board

For nearly 20 years, Boston Children's Hospital has provided Augmentative Communication Services using high and low technology solution for inpatients who are unable to speak.

Through this unique service, the Augmentative Communication Program has focused on meeting the needs of communication-vulnerable patients throughout the medical center by creating custom communication boards either at bedside or through it's world renowned model of Preoperative Augmentative Communication Intervention.

In 2002 the Boston Children's Hospital Medical Symbol Set was created to better support the communication needs of patients by representing unique vocabulary related to hospitalization. Because the dedicated augmentative communication service Children's offers is extremely unique, in 2008 the creator of the Vidatak EZ Board teamed with Children's to create the Vidatak Picture Communication Board.

Through this collaboration, the Boston Children's Hospital Medical Symbol Set is available to patients whose medical provider does not have the ability or dedicated staff available to create custom communication boards.

For more information, visit