Still having his say: David Yoder’s legacy in AAC

David A. Koppenhaver, Karen A. Erickson, Gregg C. Vanderheiden, D. Jeffery Higginbotham, Pamela Mathy, Arlene Kraat, Joe Reichle, Mark Mizuko, Sally Clendon, Dean Sutherland, Rose A. Sevcik, Mary Ann Romski

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


On February 2 2023, one of the guiding lights in the field of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) for more than four decades, David E. Yoder, passed away at the age of 90. A voracious reader and gifted storyteller, David was particularly fond of a quote from George Bernard Shaw’s Back to Methuselah, “You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ but I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’” That vision led him to take on multiple leadership roles and influence the field of AAC in multiple ways. He played a pivotal role in establishing both the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) and the United States Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (USSAAC). Additionally, he chaired the panel for the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)’s inaugural Consensus Validation Conference on AAC, advocated for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association to recognize AAC within the profession’s scope of practice, and served as the first editor for the Augmentative and Alternative Communication journal. In this tribute, we describe David’s diverse and unique contributions to improving the lives of people with communication challenges with a focus on some of his central insights and actions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-73
Number of pages5
JournalAAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication.


  • Augmentative and alternative communication
  • literacy
  • severe disability

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Biography
  • Journal Article


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