Barriers to teaching non-speaking learners with intellectual disabilities and their impact on the provision of augmentative and alternative communication
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The purpose of this investigation was to gain an understanding of the challenges of teaching non-speaking learners with intellectual disabilities and the scope of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) used in primary school settings in Gaborone, Botswana. A qualitative interview methodology was used to investigate the experiences of 11 special educators working with non-speaking learners with intellectual disabilities. Participants of the study revealed that teaching non-speaking students with intellectual disabilities is challenging. The study further showed that AAC systems were not widely used in Botswana, and that teachers lacked knowledge and skills. Nevertheless, the participants recognised the importance of AAC in enhancing the functional communication skills of the non-speaking learners with intellectual disabilities. Based on the findings recommendations are made to pave the way forward.