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About the FIAAC-E

Why do we need the FIAAC-E?

Students who cannot speak or whose speech is unintelligible may benefit from AAC systems and techniques to improve their communicative performance and enhance their participation in everyday activities at school. Aided AAC systems may include electronic devices, such as speech-generating devices with customizable software or apps, and non-electronic solutions, such as communication boards. It is vital that students who could benefit from AAC devices have access to them in order to participate fully in school activity settings.  

Educators are key to the successful integration of the AAC device into their student’s life because they are primary communication partners at school, and as such are responsible for identifying vocabulary needs, encouraging participation at school, and supporting language and literacy development.

We developed the FIAAC-E questionnaire to help educators and the team working with them to identify and address communication needs including training the student and their communication partners in the implementation of AAC devices and/or strategies within the school setting.

What is the FIAAC-E?

The FIAAC-E is an educator-report questionnaire that has 77 items divided among 11 dimensions as follows: communication effectiveness, communication function, communication opportunities, communication spontaneity, expressive language performance, educator- communication team collaboration, educator-parent collaboration, peer interactions, receptive language performance, social participation, and school environment.

The FIAAC-E can provide insights across key dimensions of school-based communication participation at the time of AAC assessment to inform goal setting and intervention planning in the classroom. It may also be administered at two times during the school year to assess real-world outcomes following periods of AAC device or system use.

How was the FIAAC-E developed?

The FIAAC-E is grounded in the framework of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health for Children and Youth (ICF-CY), and was created as a parallel measure to our parent-report Family Impact of Assistive Technology Scale for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (FIATS-AAC). Our team completed a series of measurement studies to first select items and build the dimension and response option structure of the FIAAC-E, and then evaluate its psychometric properties.  This process is reported in the paper: Ryan SE, Shepherd TA, Renzoni AM, D'Alessandro D, Oh A. Functional impact of augmentative and alternative communication scale: development of an outcome measure for educators of students with complex communication needs. Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 2023; 18: 215-226. doi: 10.1080/17483107.2020.1842917

What does FIAAC-E look like?

The FIAAC-E is a 10-page questionnaire with 77 statements describing a student’s communication participation in the school context and effectiveness of AAC systems.   The student’s educators and/or education assistant rates their level of agreement with each of these statements using a 7-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). The FIAAC-E takes approximately 20 minutes to complete, and an additional 10 minutes to score using its Excel-based scoring workbook. The workbook automates calculations for total scale and subscale scores and pre-post change scores. Change scores that exceed minimum detectable change (MDC) thresholds are flagged automatically based upon a level of confidence selected by the clinician. The workbook also generates a printable outcomes report for clinical applications.

The following table provides a sample item from each of the 11 dimensions of the FIAAC-E:



Sample Item

Communication EffectivenessMy student uses different modes of communication effectively.
Communication FunctionMy student communicates with people with whom they are less familiar.
Communication OpportunitiesMy student’s peers include them in conversations.
Communication SpontaneityMy student initiates social greetings.
Expressive Language PerformanceMy student puts words together to make sentences."
Educator-Communication Team CollaborationMembers of my student’s communication team are available to address my concerns.
Educator-Parent CollaborationMy student’s parents discuss their child’s communication needs with school staff.
Peer InteractionsMy student adds ideas when working in groups.
Receptive Language PerformanceMy student follows directions that have more than one step.
Social ParticipationThe way my student communicates with others works for them.
School EnvironmentThe physical setting at school helps my student to succeed when communicating.