Research Highlights

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Using iPads to Support Student Participation in the Individual Educational Plan Process

By: Ben Satterfield, Ed.D.


In this research project, twelve (12) special education students went through “ASPIRE“ training during the school year to prepare them to lead their Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) meetings at year’s end. Six (6) students were given iPads to support their preparation for and participation in the IEP. The other six (6) were not provided with technology. The students with iPads were supported with training and technical assistance for iPad use. A survey was completed by student, teachers, and family following the IEP to collect perceptions of student ability and performance. All students were seen to have participated successfully in their IEP meetings. Students who used iPads were reported to have demonstrated leadership behaviors at their meetings to a greater degree than the control group.

Equals Math: A Framework of Math Instruction for Students with Disabilities

An AbleNet White Paper by: Ben Satterfield, Ed.D. & Karen Ross-Brown, MLS


The necessity for a mathematics curriculum that addresses the needs of students with disabilities has been identified. Equals Math is a K-12 standards-based accessible curriculum that employs features identified in research literature on math instruction for students with disabilities. A developmental learning program in a suburban Midwestern school district conducted a year-long test of the effectiveness of the Equals curriculum. There were 72 students (ages 5-14) who completed the study. There were 21 participating teachers. Data on student progress was collected from tests given pre- and post-instruction, using the assessment protocol that is included in Equals. Teacher feedback was gathered by a survey at the end of the year. All students demonstrated progress, including students with significant disabilities. Teachers reported that the Equals curriculum was effective in helping students develop math skills and that it provided a framework for teaching students who face many challenges in learning mathematics. Not only were teachers successful in providing access to math for all their students, bur many students also exceeded their teachers' expectations in their performance.

Research Findings: SLPs and AAC in Georgia

By: Christopher Lee, Ph.D., Carolyn Phillips, M.Ed. ATP, Carol Ann Raymond, M.Ed., Ed.S., CCC-SLP, and Ben Satterfield Ed.D.


According to ASHA, significantly more SLPs are involved in AT and AAC delivery than in 2000. National studies indicate that, despite an explosion in training, practice and awareness of AAC, the level of competency that the profession requires has not been achieved. SLPs feel unprepared for providing AAC services. The UGA Speech & Hearing Clinic and GA Tools for Life conducted a survey of SLPs in Georgia to determine the actual levels of participation in and preparation for work in AAC. We will discuss the results and implications of the study, and identify possible future directions indicated in the findings.

Studies in AAC and Autism: The Impact of LAMP as a Therapy Intervention

By: Meredith Potts, CCC-SLP and Ben Satterfield Ed.D.


The seven children in this study, who ranged from age three to age seven, had a diagnosis of autism or pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and complex communication needs (CCN). All seven were diagnosed with expressive-receptive language disorder. Four presented with severe/profound apraxia. Two were found to have dysarthria of speech. Each obtained a speech generating device (SGD) and received Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) therapeutic intervention. Each child demonstrated communication progress. Language samples from six participants revealed gains as measured by mean length of utterance (MLU) within the first year. Other progress was noted in areas such as enhanced receptive vocabulary, spontaneous use of language, natural vocalization, and in the reduction of difficult behaviors and increase in shared attention.

In Support of Single Subject Research for Evidence Based Practice and AAC Research

By: Ben Satterfield, Ed.D. and Annalee Anderson, M.Ed., CCC-SLP


In the field of Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) and Assistive Technology (AT), there is a pressing need for additional research which is of sufficient rigor and clarity that professionals can draw upon the literature with greater confidence (Edyburn & Gersten, 2007). One hopeful by-product of EBP is that, one day, groups of studies will become the foundation for meta-analysis and ultimately lead to a larger body of research on which to base professional decision-making. Practitioners who endeavor to engage in Evidence Based Practice (EBP) will recognize that this process consists of a sequence of elements. Schlosser & Raghavendra (2004) have identified these steps: (1) articulating meaningful research questions, (2) consulting the research literature, including identifying appropriate components: (3) analyzing and integrating the data, (4) applying the conclusions to therapy, (5) assessing the results and (6) sharing the findings of the therapy intervention. Scholars have expounded upon these steps in an effort to bring greater clarity and offer ways to improve quality at each point. These articles provide excellent direction and insight for conducting EBP. However, the integration of these articles into a coherent process for EBP can be a challenge for practitioners. This poster is an effort to provide a series of templates, or rubrics, by which professionals may incorporate the structure and direction provided by these scholars, into their practice.