Augmentative and alternative communication supports for adults with autism spectrum disorders

The authors noted there is a lack of research examining the specific communication needs of these adults, let alone the outcomes of interventions aimed at addressing them. The aim of this study was to explore the views and experiences of support workers and family members regarding the outcomes of providing low-technology communication aids to adults with autism spectrum disorders. The participants were six support workers and two family members of six men and women with autism spectrum disorders, who had received low-technology communication aids. Using semi-structured, in-depth interviews and following thematic analysis, the results revealed strong support for, and the potential benefits of, augmentative and alternative communication for both adults with autism spectrum disorders and their communication partners. The results also revealed inconsistencies in the actions taken to support the use of the prescribed augmentative and alternative communication systems, pointing to the clinical need to address common barriers to the provision of augmentative and alternative communication support including organizational practices and limitations in the knowledge and skills of key stakeholders, as well as problematic attitudes.

Trembath, David, Lacono, Teresa, Lyon, Katie, West, Denise, and Johnson, Hilary. (2014). Augmentative and alternative communication supports for adults with autism spectrum disorders. Autism, 8, 891-902.

About rickyWburk

Ricky W. Burk, CCC-SLP, BCS-F, is a speech-language pathologist who provides in-home therapy for adolescents and adults residing in Tennessee and Mississippi who stutter. His career includes PreK, elementary, middle, and high school practice, undergraduate & graduate faculty appointments, skilled nursing, national & international consultation, private practice, and national & international speaking presentations. He holds the American Speech-Language Hearing Association Certificate of Clinical Competence, and he is a Board Certified Specialist in Fluency Disorders. He is the ASHA Continuing Education Administrator for the National Association for Speech Fluency.
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