ASD Tip of the Month

Support Communication with AAC


Communication challenges are common for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Often times, parents and caregivers are concerned that use of an AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) device may prevent speech development. However, research has proven the opposite. Some students benefit from the instantaneous feedback provided by a voice output device which provides constant modeling of spoken words, phrases and sentences. For those who have limited verbal skills or who struggle with typical communication exchanges, an AAC system may help. AAC encompasses a wide range of supports from no-tech and low-tech options such as sign language and picture symbols to high-tech speech generating devices.

To learn more about AAC, visit the following OCALI resources: AT and AEM Center, Assistive Technology Internet Modules (ATIM) and OCALI lending library, which includes approximately 50 AAC devices and numerous books.

In addition, explore the OCALI online feature-matching tool, Student Inventory for Technology Supports (SIFTS), located on the AT and AEM Center and which includes a comprehensive domain about communication. Use this tool to identify necessary features of an AAC device.