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Wednesday 17 Sep 2014

What is augmentative communication and how can it help a child with autism?

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Communication is the process by which one person gives information or receives information from another person. It is through communication that children express their thoughts and ideas, learn new things and build relationships with others. Communication can be spoken, but it can also take on other forms such as sign language, facial expressions, writing or by using an augmentative communication device (sometimes called an AAC device).

Successful communication requires that children with speech and language difficulties have the right tools at the right time in order to be successful. AAC (e.g., Maestro) can be used in any environment where communication difficult. AAC not only helps children with autism communicate their messages, but also gives them visual information that can increase their understanding of the situation.

Any child who is nonverbal or who has limited speech can benefit from the use of AAC. Children who do not have the ability to communicate can potentially fall behind in developing their receptive and expressive language skills. AAC is often considered when children do not develop speech in the traditional way or experience significant delay in their communication development.

With AAC, children with autism can:

  • Develop expressive and receptive language skills.
  • Use more appropriate means to communicate with others.
  • Increase opportunities to communicate.
  • Actively participate in the classroom.
  • Communicate more complex concepts than their existing skills would allow.

For more information about communication and learning solutions for children with autism, please visit the Autism Condition pages available on the DynaVox website. For more information about AAC in general, visit the AAC 101 Learning Path on the Implementation Toolkit.