Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Lab

Christine Holyfield, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Biography: Christine Holyfield is an assistant professor in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Her research focuses on the development and evaluation of augmentative and alternative communication technology and strategies for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who do not have functional speech and who have limited language. She teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses on topics including language disorders in children, augmentative and alternative communication, and multiple disabilities.

Lab Research Summary: This lab has a number of ongoing research projects evaluating the application of mainstream technologies in augmentative and alternative communication for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities including tablets, smartphones and wearable physiological sensors.

Research Implications: This lab's research provides information about best practices for building social engagement, social interaction, communication, and language in school-age, adolescent, and adult individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities including individuals with autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and severe and multiple disabilities. This lab's research also informs technology developers about best practices in system design for augmentative and alternative communication.

Student Impact: Students involved in this lab are undergraduate and graduate students in Communication Sciences and Disorders who will go on to be speech-language pathologists, many of whom will work in schools and other settings throughout Arkansas providing evaluations and therapy for a range of individuals with communication disorders, including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

2019 Lab Members: Elizabeth Ashbaugh, Ruhee Keshwani, Kaylea Carver, Foster Ellis, Elizabeth Fulton and Chloe Putnam

Selected Publications

  • Holyfield, C., Brooks, S., & Schluterman, A. (2019). Comparative effects of high-tech visual scene displays and low-tech isolated picture symbols on engagement from students with multiple disabilities. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 1-10.
  • Holyfield, C., Caron, J. G., Drager, K., & Light, J. (2019). Effect of mobile technology featuring visual scene displays and just-in-time programming on communication turns by preadolescent and adolescent beginning communicators. International Journal of Speech-language Pathology, 21, 201-211.
  • Holyfield, C., Caron, J., Light, J., & McNaughton, D. (2019). Effect of video embedded with hotspots with dynamic text on single-word recognition by children with multiple disabilities. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 1-14.