Possibilities of intelligent textiles in AAC - perspectives of speech and language therapists

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PURPOSE The growth of new high-technology devices in the field of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) has been rapid. However, a vast number of individuals with complex communication needs are left without functional means to communicate in their lives. Intelligent textiles are one of the growing industries in health technologies yet to be explored for the possibility of implementation as an AAC solution. This study aimed to investigate the potential of intelligent textiles and their functions in daily life perceived by experienced speech and language therapists and to obtain data, which will offer direction on how to proceed with prototype development.
MATERIALS AND METHODS Focus group discussions were conducted remotely within two groups of experienced speech and language therapists (n = 12). The data obtained from the discussions were analysed thematically.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSION According to the stakeholders in question, intelligent textiles were perceived most useful for individuals with motor disabilities and those with severe intellectual disabilities. The most prominent themes for the purpose of using the intelligent textiles were social interaction and accessing meaningful activities independently. The participants also described how this technology could be used in terms of the textile, the input needed and the output the technology provides. The versatile results are discussed along with directions for future research.

Wireless textile-based augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) technologies are a new alternative to AAC designs using rigid electronics.

Intelligent textile-based AAC may help specifically those with motor impairments and intellectual disabilities.

The technological solution should adapt to the capability rather than the disability.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation : Assistive Technology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Nov 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • augmentative and alternative communication
  • intelligent textiles
  • complex communication needs
  • high-technology
  • focus group study

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1


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