TalkingBoogie: Collaborative Mobile AAC System for Non-verbal Children with Developmental Disabilities and Their Caregivers

Published in CHI 2020.

Honorable Mention Award



Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) technologies are widely used to help non-verbal children enable communication. For AAC-aided communication to be successful, caregivers should support children with consistent intervention strategies in various settings. As such, caregivers need to continuously observe and discuss children's AAC usage to create a shared understanding of these strategies. However, caregivers often find it challenging to effectively collaborate with one another due to a lack of family involvement and the unstructured process of collaboration. To address these issues, we present TalkingBoogie, which consists of two mobile apps: TalkingBoogie-AAC for caregiver-child communication, and TalkingBoogie-coach supporting caregiver collaboration. Working together, these applications provide contextualized layouts for symbol arrangement, scaffold the process of sharing and discussing observations, and induce caregivers' balanced participation. A two-week deployment study with four groups (N=11) found that TalkingBoogie helped increase mutual understanding of strategies and encourage balanced participation between caregivers with reduced cognitive loads.