1999 Conference Proceedings

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GUIDING AAC INTO THE NEW MILLENNIUM: WHO AND WHAT CAN WE COUNT ON?

Frank DeRuyter, Ph.D.
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, NC
Third Annual Anthony J. Vitale AAC Lecture

ABSTRACT

The community of AAC stakeholders is exceedingly diverse. As we move into the new millennium, AAC will continue to find itself in a state of transition and in need of guidance to address changes. While the forces driving these changes are similar from community to community, the AAC communities are reacting to the changes in different ways. These reactions are based in part on the underlying history, culture, and values of each community. This lecture will explore the relationship between AAC communities, their values and change. It will examine why some communities appear to be more effective than others in exerting influence over change. Finally, 10 valuable lessons learned from the classics will be shared to help guide AAC into the new millennium.

BACKGROUND

In recent years, service delivery sectors in all fields have found themselves in the midst of a tremendous state of transition. This has lead service delivery sectors to rapidly look at how to change and manage the needs of their respective communities in the most judicious manner possible. Some have proposed a community-focused approach, arguing that greater changes are likely to come by driving service delivery from its traditional domain of the provider into that of the consumer. Others have been advocating for a service delivery system that is reconfigured as a community-level partnership amongst the various stakeholders within the community. The AAC community is not immune to these transitions and changes, and as it moves into the new millennium, it will find itself increasingly in need of guidance.

As one examines various service delivery sectors, one notes that many of the forces driving the transitions and changes are similar from community to community. The focal point of these forces has been the drive to improve access, enhance quality, and contain costs. Despite a common focal point, communities are reacting in different ways. These reactions are based largely on each community’s underlying history, culture, and values. While events and people form the history of a community, its future is predicated by its culture, values and how it manages community capacity.

The AAC community has a relatively contemporary history and is made up of a unique mix of stakeholders. Despite the development of a resourceful culture and an impressive set of values, the demands placed upon the AAC community have increased in recent years. As a result, concern is being raised about the complex web that is being formed within the AAC community as it attempts to navigate the intricacies of the transitions and changes. It is incumbent upon the AAC community to explore who and what it can count on for guidance as it moves into the new millennium.

One area that the AAC community should begin to explore is managing community capacity. Successful service delivery communities have demonstrated a high degree of skill in managing community capacity. They have accomplished this primarily through their acquisition of needed community resources. This capacity is reflected in a community’s ability to access its resources and to use those resources prudently. These resources can either be traditional capital or social capital resources. However, even communities that are rich in resources may lack access to technology. To that end, communities must maximize the use of communication channels within and outside of the community to access that technology to assist in managing capacity.

This lecture will explore the relationship between AAC communities, their values and change. It will examine why some communities appear to be more effective than others in exerting influence over change. Finally, 10 valuable lessons learned from the classics will be shared to help guide AAC into the new millennium.


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