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Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems 

Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems
Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems

Marjorie H. Charlop

, Alissa L. Greenberg

, and Gina T. Chang

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date: 30 July 2021

Approximately one-third of persons diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will not develop functional natural speech by adulthood. If speech does occur, onset is usually delayed and it is often characterized by abnormalities such as echolalia, idiosyncratic words or phrases, monotonous intonation, and an inability to sustain reciprocal conversation. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association defines augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems as “an integrated group of components, including the symbols, aids, strategies, and techniques used by individuals to enhance communication. The system serves to supplement any gestural, spoken, and/or written communication abilities.” This chapter reviews the different AAC systems that have been used with persons with autism, along with the relevant research for each system. It categorizes the AAC systems along two dimensions that are relevant for this population: presentation format and stimulus duration. This format will guide the discussion of the potential benefits and limitations for using each type of AAC system with persons with autism.

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