John McCarthy

Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders
Dean of the College of Health Sciences and Professions
Ohio University
Grover Center W377
Athens, OH 45701





  • Ph.D. Communication Sciences and Disorders; Penn State University 2004
  • M.S. Communication Disorders; Penn State University 1999
  • B.M. Music (Voice Performance); Penn State University 1996

Research Interests

I am interested in decreasing barriers to participation in society for individuals using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). There are over 3.5 million individuals in the United States whose natural speech is inadequate to meet their daily communication needs (Beukelman & Mirenda, 2005). The population is extremely heterogeneous covering children and adults with developmental disabilities such as cerebral palsy or autism, acquired disabilities such as those from a stroke or traumatic brain injury, degenerative disorders such as ALS or Parkinson’s disease, and conditions resulting in individuals being temporarily unable to speak such as post-surgery. These individuals can benefit from augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) strategies such as gestures, signs, alphabet or picture based-boards, or computer-based systems with synthesized speech output.

My research focuses on:

  • Improving the design and accessibility of AAC systems
  • Creative Expressions by and for individuals requiring AAC

Connect with me regarding my research:

Courses Taught


  • CSD 6400: Augmentative Communication
  • HSP 5510: Interprofessional Rural Health
  • CSD 6090: Language Disorders in Infants and Toddlers


  • CSD 1080: Introduction to Communication Disorders
  • CSD 3100: Language Development
  • CSD 3900: Introduction to Research in CSD
  • CSD 4410: Pre-Professional Service II
  • IHS 2900:  Special Topics in Health Sciences and Professions
  • MUS 369Y: Technology-Based Multisensory Approaches for Children


“Those who have handled sciences have either been men of experiment or men of dogmas. The men of experiment are like the ant; they only collect and use; the reasoners resemble spiders, who make cobwebs out of their own substance. But the bee takes the middle course; it gathers its material from the flowers of the garden and of the field, but transforms and digests by a power of its own. Not unlike this is the true business of philosophy.” –Francis Bacon

“Mmmm unexplained bacon…” –Homer Simpson