A survey was developed based on relevant literature in postsecondary education for persons with disabilities (e.g., Fitchen, Amsel, Bourdon, & Creti, 1988; Fichen, Goodrick, Tagalakis, Amsel, & Libmann, 1990) and AAC (Huer, 1991; Schutz-Muehling & Beukelman, 1990; Shell, Horn, & Severs, 1988). Following preliminary development, the instrument was field tested in a pilot test. For the pilot study, 3 college graduates and 2 professionals with expertise in AAC provided feedback on the content appropriateness, lengthiness, and readability of the instrument. The experts included in the pilot test were (a) two persons who had cerebral palsy and who used AAC, both with a graduate level education; (b) one person who had cerebral palsy, had a bachelor's level education, and used AAC who was currently employed in his college field of study; and (c) two professionals with expertise in speech language pathology and AAC.
The questionnaire2 was used to gather demographic information from the respondents as well as information on the perceived communication demands, and effective techniques for participation, in the college environment. To measure communication demands, participants were asked to complete checklist and multiple choice formats. The participants had the option to write their responses using one of three formats: (a) a handwritten copy for the participant of an interpreter to complete, (b) a copy on a computer disc for the participant to complete, or (c) a copy through e-mail for the participant to complete. For this study, 4 of 7 participants completed hand written copies. Three of the 4 participants indicated that they received assistance from a transcriber to complete the written responses. Two of the three who received assistance reported that the transcriber was a parent; one received assistance from a personal care provider who reported knowing the participant for less than one year. Of the remaining participants, two completed the questionnaire using an e-mail formant while one used a computer disc.
Regardless of the questionnaire format, the instructions for completing the questionnaire were the same. Directions specified that participants either mark the most applicable response (20 items) or all applicable responses (20 items). For the later, an "other" category was included so as not to limit participants' responses to the provided options. The instrument also included open-ended questions. Directions requested that students answer the open-ended question as completely as they could, using at least three to five sentences per answer.