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David McNaughton

Dr. David McNaughton

Professor of Education (SPLED)

Phone: 814-865-7159

227A CEDAR Building
University Park, PA 16802


  • Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education


  • Special Education


David McNaughton, Ph.D. is a Professor of Special Education (with a cross-appointment in Communication Sciences and Disorders) at Penn State. He teaches augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) coursework, assistive technology, collaboration skills, and grant-writing and project management. His research focuses on promoting the communication and participation of children and young adults who require AAC. Current research activities include:

  • Supporting communication and participation: Dr. McNaughton is leading a five-year, federally-funded project to investigate the use of video visual scene displays (VSDs) to support young adults with disabilities in participating and communicating in desired community activities (e.g., employment, independent living, recreational activities).


  • Building capacity in AAC: David is a Co-Leader of Training and Dissemination for the RERC on AAC, a federally funded research and development center in AAC. He is the developer of the AAC Learning Center, a free online resource used by over 75 colleges and universities to support pre-service and in-service instruction in AAC.


  • Developing research partnerships with people who use AAC: Dr. McNaughton is investigating new approaches to research partnerships with people who use AAC, including the development of AAC Consumer Forums, a series of consumer-directed research projects to give guidance to AAC research and capacity building activities.



View all publications on Google Scholar


Current Funding:

The AAC Leadership Project. (D. McNaughton, Principal Investigator). This project will help to prepare the next generation of AAC faculty in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). Students can enroll in doctoral programs in Special Education, or Communication Sciences and Disorders. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (2022-2027). Grant H325D220021


Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (RERC on AAC). (J. Light, Principal Investigator; D. McNaughton, Co-Leader and Investigator).

The AAC-RERC is a virtual multicenter collaborative research center. The mission of the AAC-RERC is to improve outcomes for people who require AAC across the life span. Funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (2022-2025) NIDILRR Grant 90REGE0014


The AAC Collaboration Project. (Co-Principal Investigator with Jessica Caron, and Janice Light, Co-Investigator). This project is designed to address the urgent need for highly qualified speech language pathologists (SLPs) and special educators to provide research-based services in the schools to improve the language and literacy skills and enhance the academic achievement of children with severe disabilities who require Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) /assistive technologies. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (2017-2022). Grant H325K170130.



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