Annika Dahlgren Sandberg, Ph.D., Wins 2008 AbleNet Literacy/ISAAC Award

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Sweden's Annika Dahlgren Sandberg Ph.D., recognized for her work in blending augmentative and alternative communication with literacy.

Dr. Annika Dahlgren Sandberg

Annika has worked as a special education teacher and as a psychologist for persons with disabilities. She is a well-respected university professor, researcher, lecturer and author who is passionate about the very real connection between AAC and literacy for persons with severe speech and physical impairments.

AbleNet Inc., a world leader in the development of assistive technologies that support the company's literacy-based curricula for students with disabilities, and the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC), an organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults with speech difficulties, proudly announce Annika Dahlgren Sandberg, Ph.D., as this year's recipient of the AbleNet Literacy/ISAAC Award.

The award, which honors the extraordinary work of an individual or group of individuals who actively advocate literacy among persons with disabilities, will be presented to Annika Dahlgren Sandberg at the 13th Biennial ISAAC Conference, in Montréal, Québec, August 2-7, 2008, where she will be featured as a keynote speaker on the topic of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and literacy.

"Annika Dahlgren Sandberg embodies the spirit in which the AbleNet Literacy/ISAAC Award was created," said AbleNet co-founder and CEO Emeritus Cheryl Volkman. "Annika has worked as a special education teacher and as a psychologist for persons with disabilities. She is a well-respected university professor, researcher, lecturer and author who is passionate about the very real connection between AAC and literacy for persons with severe speech and physical impairments."

Annika Dahlgren Sandberg graduated from Göteborg University in Göteborg, Sweden with a Ph.D. in psychology. Her doctoral thesis was titled, "Literacy Abilities in Nonvocal Children with Cerebral Palsy," and it's first publication in the 'AAC Journal,' which addressed the phonological awareness skills of children with severe speech and physical impairments and the links to literacy development, has remained a seminal paper within the field, still regularly cited and referenced. As a Professor of Psychology at Göteborg University, Annika Dahlgren Sandberg teaches developmental and psychological aspect of disabilities. She is currently supervising three Ph.D. students working on theses within her research field: language, both written and oral, communication, cognition and disabilities, children with severe speech and physical impairments and children with neuropsychiatric disorders.

"As a proactive advocate for literacy among persons with disabilities worldwide, our goal with the AbleNet Literacy/ISAAC Award is to identify and recognize industry leaders, like Annika Dahlgren Sandberg, who have dedicated their lives and their careers to this important field of study. Her work in the area of blending literacy learning with AAC is truly inspirational and her contributions extend far beyond the walls of Göteborg University to the global community," said AbleNet Vice President of International Business, Adam Wing.

Annika Dahlgren Sandberg was nominated for the AbleNet Literacy/ISAAC Award by Martine Smith, a Senior Lecturer in the Clinical Speech and Language Studies Department within the School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences at Trinity College Dublin, located in Dublin, Ireland. An excerpt taken from Smith's nomination submission gets right to the heart of why Annika Dahlgren Sandberg was chosen as this year's recipient: "The contribution of Annika Dahlgren Sandberg to the field of AAC and in particular to the area of literacy in AAC is broad in its range and impressive in its depth. Over almost two decades, she has touched the lives of many children struggling to read, inspired many students within university programs, and stimulated research discussions on an international level, all the time sharing generously of her time, her scientific understanding and her gentle good humour. She has contributed not only to the theoretical development of the field, but has nurtured and supported students and research networks, constantly seeking to draw people together, facilitating sharing of ideas and collaborative explorations. Thus, she has not only individually contributed to the field, but has sown seeds for further researchers to ensure that the needs of children with severe disabilities continue to be driven by scientifically based interventions."

About AbleNet:
AbleNet offers a complete line of assistive technology products, including communication aids for non-verbal students, and access aids, such as switches and wheelchair mounting devices for students who require physical supports. The company is also recognized for developing research-based special education curricula that meet state and federal mandates. Located in Roseville, Minnesota, AbleNet is an ESOP company that sells its products through a network of distributors in more than 50 countries. AbleNet's products and programs have been used in tens of thousands of classrooms nationally for more than 20 years. For more information, visit

About ISAAC:
ISAAC started in 1983 and has thousands of members in 50 countries. In August, ISAAC will hold its 13th international conference in Montreal. The conference will bring together people with communication disabilities, professionals, researchers, and academics from all over the world to present and discuss the latest advances for people who use AAC (electronic voice output devices, computers, books and boards with pictures or letters, or sign language).

For more information about Annika Dahlgren Sandberg and the AbleNet Literacy/ISAAC Award, visit For more information about the13th Biennial ISAAC Conference, visit


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