The Center for AAC and Autism

Communication Success Stories

What is Successful AAC communication?

Real communication is the expression of one's heart and mind. We communicate to express our needs, desires, thoughts, and humor, to ask questions and learn about the world around us, to engage with others. Real communication occurs when we have the ability to say what we want to say when we want to say it. It is the combination of access to a multitude of words, gestures, facial expressions, and vocalizations. Communication should not be limited by others' predictions of what we might want to say. The desire to communicate comes from the fact that it makes our lives easier, more enjoyable, and more rewarding.

We will be introducing to you several individuals with autism, who are using AAC to communicate and develop their language skills. They are in different stages of learning but all are on their way to becoming independent, spontaneous communicators.

  • Unlocking the Words

    Unlocking the Words

    For nearly one year, Adrian and Parker, who both have autism, have been working with a communication device featuring Unity language software and the Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) approach. And despite encountering challenges with other methodologies in the past, both are using LAMP in ways they never thought possible

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  • Archie

    Archie's Story

    Like many 13-year-old boys, Archie Pollock has found a passion for a particular sport – surfing. He loves the feeling of the cool, crisp waves against his body and the warm, gentle breeze against his face. But Archie didn’t always enjoy surfing – or any activities.

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  • Jimmy

    Jimmy's Story

    After years of frustration, family members, teachers and classmates are finally getting a glimpse inside the mind of 13-year-old Jim Caster. "He's able to ask for what he wants or what he needs or what he doesn't want," said his speech therapist, Heather Gray. "His personality and sense of humor are starting to come out. You can just see he's so much happier, and you can see who he is as person."

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  • Isaiah

    Isaiah Finds his 'Voice'

    While speech therapist Sarah Allen has records denoting certain goals achieved while working with autistic 8-year-old Isaiah, like the increasing frequency with which he's sought out augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), more important to her -- and harder to measure objectively -- is how often his intent is successfully communicated.

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  • Wyatt

    Not if, but how... our AAC success story

    My son received his AAC just about a year ago. It is hard to imagine our life with out it now. Wyatt took to his "talker" immediately. He quickly learned how to ask for his needs and wants, and we were thrilled. Our non verbal, visually impaired son, living with autism finally had a voice.

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  • Cohen

    Meet Cohen

    Cohen Pearson avidly embraces technology. Sometimes too much so, actually, as the 4 1/2-year-old has been a little too rough on two iPhones, three iPod Touches and two laptops - so far.

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  • Wyatt

    Music to the Ears: Meet Gabriel

    When 10-year-old Gabriel May of Columbus, Ohio, looked up at the ceiling several months ago and said "light," his speech therapist Lindsey Cargill was floored. "I cried my face off," she said. "The sound of his voice was one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard."

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  • Shayla


    At a therapy session, Shayla's father ran into a friend whose son used a Prentke Romich Vantage Lite device, which, through touchscreen picture icons and learned motor patterns, allows for forming words and sentences.

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  • Max

    Max's Story

    When 9-year-old Max rides around his home town with his mom Theresa, he enjoys helping with directions. "On Salem, off Salem, turn College. Turn left. Go straight. "He'll read each and every street sign on the way. He tells us where he wants to go. We joke that instead of a Tom-Tom GPS we have our own Max-Max," Theresa says.

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