Augmentative and Alternative Communication in Children Essay

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Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) provides a way for children with autism to communicate. According to DeBonis and Donohue (2008), AAC is a communication option for individuals who have difficulty or inability to express themselves verbally. Children with autism who display difficulty in social situations and verbal communication may benefit from AAC use. AAC systems provide a way for children with autism to communicate, enhance verbal language, and participate in social interaction.
Systems of AAC include both high-tech and low-tech methods. High-tech methods consist of electronic devices such as the Apple iPad or iPod. Low-tech methods consist of non-electronic systems such as a Picture Exchange Communication System
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Children with autism struggle to use even simple communicative gestures such as maintaining eye contact, facial expressions, and suprasegmentals of speech (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). The inability to communicate and interact in social situations affects the daily life of children with autism.
One limitation of AAC is the concern the AAC system will replace spoken language. Studies have observed increases in spoken language and overall communication during and after use of AAC systems by children with autism (Barker, Akaba, Brady, & Thiemann-Bourque, 2013; Charlop-Christy, Carpenter, Le, LeBlanc, & Kellet, 2002; Chiang & Lin, 2008; Ganz, Parker, & Benson, 2009; Ganz & Simpson, 2004). AAC systems support spoken language due to modeling by communication partners, voice activation of the high tech devices, and visual supports. The purpose of this paper is to explore available devices, methods of training used to implement these devices, the process of selecting a device, and the positive outcomes of AAC used by children with autism.
High-Tech Devices versus Low-Tech Devices
There are two methods of AAC including high-tech devices and low-tech devices. Both methods display positive outcomes for communication development in children with autism (Flores et al., 2012; Son et al., 2006; Van der Meer et al., 2012; Van der Meer et al., 2013). Choosing the method depends on
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