The Center for AAC and Autism

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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