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Points to Include in an AAC Evaluation for Individuals with Autism
- Portability (weight, size, carrying handle)
- Tempered glass for durability
- More locations available for vocabulary on one screen allows access to a large vocabulary with reduced amount of sequencing
- Ability to independently compose words and phrases to express wants, needs, medical information, and thoughts through the use of a word based system.
- Extended battery for use during the day as the device will be used across settings.
- A language software that allows progression from first words to complex language without relearning.
- Consistent motor plan to access vocabulary makes it easier to learn and automaticity allows for faster access and access without cognitive attention to symbols and page navigation.
- Auditory output devices can lead to increased speech production
- Use of hide and show feature to minimize visual distractions while learning with just two key strokes so that the child does not become distracted or frustrated.
- Digitized and synthesized speech options. Digitized is good for storing music if it is motivating and some kids may be able to process it better auditorily; synthesized is necessary for text-to-speech as the individual learns to spell and can store their own messages.
- For the non-literate individual, use of picture symbols that can be used to communicate multiple meanings of words.
- Consistent access to core words which are a large percentage of words in vocabulary.
What to avoid with AAC
- A device that is too heavy
- Pre-programmed phrases limit what the child can say. May not have access to vocabulary to describe medical issues.
- Having the same motor plan to access different words makes it more difficult to learn
- Too few words available on one screen leads to more sequencing (key-strokes) to say phrases.
- Some dynamic screen devices take longer to re-draw the screen between hits. This could be visually distracting or cause the autistic child to lose interest