Saturday 26 November 2022. 11:15am - 11:45am

Marie-Claire Shanahan, Pratim Sengupta, Megha Sanyal

Multimodality and infrastructure: seeing beyond deficit framings of disability and AAC users in K-12 STEM

Contact Author: Marie-Claire Shanahan (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

aWerklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada


Disabled students in science are most often positioned as deficient, needing assistance and accommodations to participate in science learning activities (McInnis & Kahn, 2014). One group of students that has been almost left out of inclusive science education research is users of augmentative and alternative communications (AAC) technologies. The term AAC is used to describe a variety of tools, from picture-based communication books to voice output devices, which generate spoken words from user-inputed symbols, typing or predictive text. They are often used by students with autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, apraxia of speech and other disabilities that can impact expressive language. In this paper, we offer a critical review of the literature in critical disability studies, human computer interaction, and scientific modeling in K-12 education and argue that the emphasis on multimodality as a central feature of scientific modeling (Lehrer & Schauble, 2006) is deeply synergistic with the representational practices of AAC users (Ibrahim, Vasalou & Clarke, 2018) in ways that can contribute to re-understanding AAC users as unique and valued actors in classroom scientific practices.