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Augmentative and Alternative Communication in Children

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Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) provides a way for children with autism to communicate. According to DeBonis and Donohue (2008), AAC is a communication option for individuals who have difficulty or inability to express themselves verbally. Children with autism who display difficulty in social situations and verbal communication may benefit from AAC use. AAC systems provide a way for children with autism to communicate, enhance verbal language, and participate in social interaction.
Systems of AAC include both high-tech and low-tech methods. High-tech methods consist of electronic devices such as the Apple iPad or iPod. Low-tech methods consist of non-electronic systems such as a Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) or manual signing. Different types of AAC systems give educators the option to choose the best method of AAC for each individual child. When choosing the best method of AAC, educators must consider the severity of autism, the individual characteristics, and capabilities of each child. The type of AAC method or device educators select for the child may depend on the school system and the cost of the device. Multiple research studies have investigated allowing children with autism to choose an AAC system or device (Son, Sigafoos, O’Reilly, & Lancioni, 2006; Van der Meer et al., 2012; Van der Meer et al., 2013). Son et al., (2006) Van der Meer et al., (2012) and Van der Meer et al., (2013) examined if allowing the child with autism to choose an AAC system had a positive outcome on communication. Selecting an AAC system for a child with autism takes time and consideration of each individual child’s abilities.
Children with autism struggle to communicate and interact socially among different situa...

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...ed instruction to teach use of speech-generating devices to students with autism in social game routines. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 27(1), 26-39. doi: 10.3109/07434618.2010.546810
Van der Meer, L., Kagohara, D., Achmadi, D., O'Reilly, M., Lancioni, G. E., Sutherland, D., & Sigafoos, J. (2012). Speech-generating devices versus manual signing for children with developmental disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 33(5), 1658-1669. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2012.04.004
Van der Meer, L., Kagohara, D., Roche, L., Sutherland, D., Balandin, S., Green, V. A., O'Reilly, M. F., Lancioni, G. E., Marschick, P.B., & Sigafoos, J. (2013). Teaching multi-step requesting and social communication to two children with autism spectrum disorders with three AAC options. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 29(3), 222-234. doi: 10.3109/07434618.2013.815801
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