Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Communication Sciences & Disorders (MSCSD)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Health Sciences


Communication Sciences & Disorders

First Advisor

Dr. Mary Jo Cooley Hidecker


Background: Students with complex communication needs (CCN) rely on the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) to support their communication; however, many students are leaving high school without an effective form of communication. To build capacity and increase school professionals’ knowledge and self-efficacy in AAC, this thesis used an adaptation of Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) for use with AAC.

Methods: Using a post then pre-retrospective survey, participants self-reported changes in knowledge, confidence, and overall satisfaction with ECHO sessions. Paired sample t-tests assessed participant-reported change in knowledge. Frequency counts were used to analyze responses about confidence and overall satisfaction.

Results: 79 unique participants from a variety of professional backgrounds attended at least one ECHO session. Participants reported increased knowledge and confidence after participating in ECHO sessions, 99% of participants were satisfied with ECHO sessions, and 94% planned to share information from the ECHO sessions with others.

Discussion: Overall, evaluative data from this pilot ECHO in AAC indicated the ECHO model may be an effective tool for providing high-quality, accessible professional education in AAC.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)