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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Communication Disorders

Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



This thesis investigates best practices for teaching and supporting bilingual augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) users as they develop their communication skills. Although there are guidelines that inform best practices for teaching and supporting bilingual AAC users, there is very little information on what these practices look like. This thesis investigates the techniques and strategies that bilingual speech-language pathologists (SLPs) who practice in Catalunya, a bilingual community in northeastern Spain, use to evaluate, teach, and support people who use pictogram-based AAC modalities to communicate.

To do this, six SLPs who practice in Catalunya participated in interviews regarding their practices when teaching bilingual AAC users. These interviews were analyzed thematically, based on an iterative, inductive coding process. Analysis revealed that most bilingual AAC users have access to an AAC system in only one language of the community. This may reflect a monolingual mindset (Tonsing & Soto, 2020), and limits the opportunities for engagement with both the larger community, and the individuals’ home communities. This is particularly true for those who speak a language other than those of the community with their families. Despite this, AAC users seem to understand both languages, develop bilingual identities, and “feel bilingual.” Additionally, despite the lack of access to multilingual AAC systems, professionals employ practices that show respect for the home language, whether it is Castilian Spanish, Catalan, or another language. The results suggest that the monolingual mindset is a deeply-ingrained part of educational and therapeutic systems in both monolingual and bilingual communities, even when individual practitioners respect and value their clients’ home language(s) and bilingual identities.


First Advisor

Megan Gross

Second Advisor

Yu-Kyong Choe

Third Advisor

Gloria Soto