Augmentative Communication & Autism

See also:    Assistive Technology    Communication    Computers   

Not being able to speak is not the same as not having anything to say.

Internet Resources

Many autistic people have trouble with real-time speech. Some of us find it easier to either avoid speech in favor of other modes of communication, while others find it useful to use less interactive forms of communication. However, there are a lot of questions and concerns autistic people have regarding non-typical forms of communication - questions like, "How will people respond", "What are my alternatives", and "Is desiring not to talk legitimate?"
Joel Smith
This chapter will briefly review various etiologies that lead to communication disorders in individuals who may benefit from the use of augmentative communication technologies.
D. Jeffery Higginbotham et al
The term Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) quite simply means any methods of communicating that can supplement the ordinary methods of speech and handwriting, where these are impaired.
Beverly Vicker
I am pleading with you today to rethink assumptions about autism and mental retardation and give us the opportunity to communicate and escape the prison of our minds and bodies.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication Techniques in Inclusive Classroom Settings; Communicating with Your Child: Observe, Wait, and Listen
Products specially designed for children and adults who are unable to communicate because of stroke, neurological disorder, brain dysfunction, hearing/voice/physical difficulties, or language barrier.
A recognized challenge in the field of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is the assessment of the individual skills and preferences of potential users of AAC. Particularly in cognitive assessment, many traditional methods are inappropriate because they require the participant to produce a verbal response and/or involve complex verbal instructions. For individuals with limited verbal forms of language, failure at such tasks is relatively uninstructive, either for revealing their functional intellectual status or for developing effective interventions. This paper presents a demonstration of a method developed to evaluate category structure and, thus, semantic organization in individuals with limited verbal skills concomitant to autism spectrum disorder. This method offers a promising tool for assessing clients for AAC. Further potential uses of this method, both clinically and in research, are discussed.
KM Wilkinson et al
AAC is not an end, but a means to address goals and objectives which improve quality of life for children with autism. As such, AAC can be used to address methodologies across the educational and behavioral spectrum.
Joanne Cafiero
JTalk is a free communication software package. It allows a user to use their computer to communicate verbally with others. Some of the features include: * Text-to-Speech synthesizer access (text that is typed on a keyboard can be spoken by the computer) * Support for SAPI5, SAP4, and IBM ViaVoice speech engines if installed on the computer * Custom abbreviations and pronunciations * Programmable buttons, arranged on user-defined "button pages," allow pre-defined messages and scripts to be spoken easily * Network support allows two JTalk users to see each other's text as it is typed * Tablet PC support includes a "sketchpad" feature to allow quick free-form communication * Ability to restrict vocabulary and sentence structure to predefined formats to make it easier to teach young children about communication.
Joel Smith
...when some of us do type that we indeed cannot do some or all of those things, and that typing didn't change anything, people utterly ignore us and go on saying the same nonsense versions of our lives. It appears that typing involves a fair bit of glamour-magic that parents in particular are susceptible to deception by. This deception teaches them that no matter what we say, we're still who they think we are, not who we actually are, and our skill profile is very different than it actually is.
Discusses the use of digital personal photographs and to connect today's use with the future design of computer-based communication aids.
Kerstin Andersson
The findings support the use of a problem-solving intervention that incorporates the family's lifestyle as a method to promote augmentative communication during daily routines.
Where people lack an adequate communication system, they deserve to have others try with them to discover and secure a usable communication system. Inability to communicate should never be presumed to be evidence of an inability to think in complex ways.
A good-sized list of links.
The Operation Communication Board is a new tool designed to improve communication between the professional and people who cannot make their circumstances clear due to autism, Alzheimer's syndrome, traumatic head injury, unfamiliar or impaired speech, or other difficulties.
This training module can be infused in any course that focuses on teaching students who cannot speak; any course that focuses on language/communication disorders; or any course on assistive technology.
Amy Dell, Anne Disdier, Amy Goldman, Patricia Mervine
This list is intended to give device manufacturers ideas for the next round of AAC innovation. It's also intended to expand the expectations of users, to encourage this innovation. While it is true that the current generation of speech devices are the products of tremendous innovation, more can and should be done. We should not be content with the current "state of the art" when so much more is still possible. Of course I'm just one user of AAC, and these ten ideas are just my ideas. Other users will, of course, have other ideas!
Joel Smith
Unfortunately, most businesses don't know how to properly handle these calls. Their staff is not trained well, they often don't have the proper equipment, and, at best, it's an extremely low priority. People making relay calls get hung up on for fear of being defrauded, while even large businesses that invest in a TTY and a employee to take the calls fail to train their personnel on TTY usage. Because of these problems, I felt it important to create some tips for businesses. These tips will help you interact with TTY and relay users. They may also increase your profit margin!
Joel Smith

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