Medical communication and advocacy through eye-tracking AAC: Implications for applied linguistics

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.21283/2376905X.15.1.266

Keywords:

RETT SYNDROME, EYE TRACKING, AUGMENTATIVE AND ALTERNATIVE COMMUNICATION (AAC), DISABILITY, MEDICAL COMMUNICATION

Abstract

Historically, individuals with Rett syndrome, a rare neurodevelopmental disorder, have been cast as “silent angels,” “nonverbal,” and “speechless.” As a consequence, they have not been consulted in their medical care. Recently, however, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices that use eye-tracking technology have facilitated communication for individuals with Rett syndrome. Yet, no prior research has investigated how such communication occurs within medical settings. Through an applied linguistics lens that centers the analysis of language use, we construct a case report capturing how Kalika, a child with Rett syndrome, offers medical information. Kalika’s device-mediated language use suggests multiple implications for applied linguistics scholars and language educators, including: broadening notions of speaking, increasing consideration of AAC, exploring more device-mediated language use, extending multimodal considerations, nuancing notions of communicative competence, presuming competence, and, last but not least, more deliberately espousing principles of linguistic justice in our field.

Author Biographies

Usree Bhattacharya, University of Georgia

Usree Bhattacharya is an Associate Professor in the Department of Language and Literacy Education within the Mary Frances Early College of Education at the University of Georgia. Her research is inspired by questions of diversity, equity, and inclusion in multilingual educational settings. Motivated by her daughter's diagnosis of Rett syndrome in 2018, her research currently explores language and literacy socialization within this rare disease context.

Wisnu A. Pradana, University of Georgia

Wisnu A. Pradana is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Language and Literacy Education, Mary Frances Early College of Education, at the University of Georgia. His research interests include Rett syndrome and social justice issues surrounding persons with disability and their families.

Xing Wei, University of Georgia

Xing Wei is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Language and Literacy Education, Mary Frances Early College of Education, at the University of Georgia. Her research focuses on language modeling using aided augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices for individuals with disabilities.

Daniel Tarquinio, Center for Rare Neurological Diseases

Daniel Tarquinio is a pediatric neurologist and epileptologist. He is the managing director of the Center for Rare Neurological Diseases. His research interests include the treatment of epilepsy in Rett syndrome, validation and refinement of outcome measures for clinical research, and identification of neurophysiological predictors of outcome.

Olivia Datta, University of Georgia

Olivia Datta is an undergraduate student at Franklin College of Arts and Science at the University of Georgia. She is majoring in biology and completing a certificate in disabilities studies. Olivia is in the process of pursuing becoming a physician.

Kaleigh Anderson, University of Georgia

Kaleigh Anderson is a graduate student in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders in the Mary Frances Early College of Education at the University of Georgia. Her research interests include social communication, neurodevelopmental disorders, and emerging AAC technology.

Nicole Cruz-Díaz, University of Georgia

Nicole Cruz-Díaz is a graduate student in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders in the Mary Frances Early College of Education at the University of Georgia. She is speech-language pathologist certified (Chile, 2014) with a Graduate Diploma in Neuropsychology and Neuropsychiatry in Adults. Her research includes Rett Syndrome in LatinAmerican contexts and bilingualism.

Published

04/30/2022

How to Cite

Bhattacharya, U., Pradana, W. A., Wei, X., Tarquinio, D., Datta, O., Anderson, K., & Cruz-Díaz, N. (2022). Medical communication and advocacy through eye-tracking AAC: Implications for applied linguistics. EuroAmerican Journal of Applied Linguistics and Languages, 9(1), 71–90. https://doi.org/10.21283/2376905X.15.1.266

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Research Articles

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