Augmentative and Alternative Communication: For Teenagers With Autism

Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Not all individuals with autism have communication difficulties. Many teens with Asperger’s, for example, may be able to communicate well enough to participate in social situations and even hold down jobs.

Others are limited to communicating through gestures or writing notes on paper; others still can’t speak at all.

It’s important to remember that not everyone who has autism has difficulty communicating—and that not all people who struggle with speech have autism!

 

Many people with autism find it hard to communicate.

Many people with autism find it hard to communicate. They may have difficulty communicating because they can’t speak well, or because they are not understood by others.

They may also find it difficult to express themselves in writing or through gestures and other nonverbal methods of communication.

Many teenagers with autism have limited vocabulary and language skills that can make it difficult for them to express themselves clearly when talking directly with someone else face-to-face (such as at a meeting).

When this happens, other people usually don’t understand what the teenager says unless they’ve been given extra information about how he/she talks normally.

For example, by watching him/her interact with others during school hours every day over several weeks or months.

Reading articles written by adults who work closely alongside teens who have ASD; listening closely while observing his/her interactions outside normal classroom settings; etcetera…

 

For some, that may mean they just need extra support and understanding to help them communicate.

You can also use AAC systems to help people with autism communicate. There are two types of AAC systems: unaided and aided.

Unaided systems include strategies such as sign language, speech reading, and picture communication (pointing at pictures).

Aided AAC devices offer additional support by providing an image of what the speaker wants to say or show you and making it easier for them to speak out loud without having any difficulty articulating their message in words or sentences.

AAC may be used by people who have language difficulties but still want to communicate effectively with others via speech and/or writing skills.

These individuals may have trouble understanding what others say due to a Communication Disorder such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

 

Some may have significant communication challenges

Others, however, may have significant communication challenges, or have very limited or no speech at all.

AAC systems include unaided systems (those that don’t require any equipment or materials) and aided systems (those that use tools, such as a computer).

Unaided AAC is often used by people who don’t have any other means of communicating. Signing with your hands together is the most basic form of sign language; it’s also one of the first things you learn in schools for children with autism spectrum disorders.

Gesturing with objects can be used to communicate simple ideas like “give me some water” or “help me.”

Gestures are also useful when talking about abstract concepts—for example, “play basketball” could be conveyed by pointing at an imaginary basketball court while gesturing toward yourself (and maybe someone else nearby).

 

These individuals may benefit from special technologies designed to help them communicate, called augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems.

Some of the most common AAC systems include sign language, gestures, and speech.

  • Signing is a system of communication in which people use their hands to express ideas or objects they want others to know about. It can be used alone or with another form of communication like writing or speaking.
  • Gestures are movements that people make that represent an object or concept (for example, pointing at something). They can also show where an object is located on your body (like when someone says “point to my heart”).
  • Speech therapy involves using real words and sentences through repetition until it becomes easier for you to understand what’s being said by others around you.

 

AAC systems include unaided systems

AAC systems include unaided systems (those that don’t require any equipment or materials) and aided systems (those that use tools, such as a computer).

Unaugmented systems are those that don’t require any equipment or materials, such as sign language and gestures.

Aided systems, on the other hand, rely on tools to communicate like computers with keyboards or tablets with touch screens.

 

Unaided systems include sign language and gestures.

Sign language is a visual language that uses hand gestures and body language to communicate. Signers use their hands to make movements like pointing, waving, or drawing pictures on a board.

They may also make facial expressions such as smiling or frowning in order to communicate feelings such as happiness or sadness.

Sign languages can help people with autism communicate without speaking because they’re able to use their hands more effectively than speech alone.

When communicating with other people, it’s important for them to understand each other because this helps them feel connected and understood when meeting someone new for the first time.

 

Some individuals with autism may not be able to use sign language

Some individuals with autism may not be able to use sign language because their fine motor skills are too weak for them to make precise movements consistently.

Understanding that your child has a disability in this area of the brain can help you understand what his or her needs are.

For example, if your child can’t draw well but loves using crayons or markers, then he/she might need more time on paper than typical kids his age who can pick up the basics quickly.

This would indicate to you that it’s important for him/her to practice drawing more often so that he/she gets better at expressing himself through art drawings later in life when he/she is ready!

 

Aided systems can generally be separated into two types of device

Aided systems are generally separated into two types of devices:

  • High-tech
  • Low-tech

High-tech devices are more expensive, but they also tend to be easier to use and more portable. They may include a range of options including text-to-speech software for children who are unable or unwilling to speak, or computerized speech synthesizers that can read aloud stories or other materials on demand from one’s computer screen. These often cost thousands of dollars each but can provide some degree of independence for young people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Low-tech aids such as picture cards with word associations printed on them have been around since before World War II! The idea behind these cards is simple: when an autistic child makes eye contact with one picture card then he immediately knows what word goes with it because he has memorized its association during previous learning experiences.

 

They offer limited options for expressing needs, wants, thoughts and feelings.

Communication boards, also known as communication displays or low-tech devices, are a type of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device used to help people with significant disabilities express themselves.

They offer limited options for expressing needs, wants, thoughts and feelings by choosing from a small number of predefined responses.

Communication boards provide visual information in the form of words or pictures that represent different activities or items in a child’s daily routine.

Communication boards use photos or symbols to represent those items or actions so children can easily understand what they mean.

 

Some low-tech devices are known as communication boards or displays.

Some low-tech devices are known as communication boards or displays. Communication boards provide visual information in the form of words or pictures that represent different activities or items in a child’s daily routine.

They can be used to help build vocabulary, as well as teach how to read and write letters and numbers.

The following are examples of some low-tech devices that may be useful for augmentative and alternative communication:

  • Word cards (e.g., flashcards)
  • Alphabet tiles (e.g., alphabet blocks)

 

Communication boards provide visual information in the form of words or pictures that represent different activities or items in a child’s daily routine.

Communication boards are a type of communication aid that provide visual cues about the items or actions being discussed by using photos or symbols to represent those items or actions.

They’re used to help individuals with autism communicate by providing them with information in an easy-to-digest format that can be understood by other people who do not have ASD.

Communication boards can be low-tech, such as a poster board on which children place pictures of objects and activities they would like others to know about (e.g., “I’m going shopping today,” “I’ll be home soon”).

Or they can be high-tech devices like electronic tablets loaded with images, sounds, and video clips depicting different topics such as holidays celebrations, or holiday traditions from around the world; these help kids practice what they’ve learned so far about communicating using augmentative methods when it comes time for the testing day!

 

They provide visual cues about the items

  • They provide visual cues about the items or actions being discussed by using photos or symbols to represent those items or actions.
  • For example, a young person with autism might use a picture of a heart to show that he/she loves someone.

 

Takeaway:

  • AAC systems can help people with autism communicate in many different ways.
  • AAC systems can be low-tech or high-tech, unaided or aided.
  • AAC systems are available for infants and toddlers, preschoolers, and school children.
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