Author Archive for: defendingcomm

Entries by United for Communication Choice

Pioneering Change for Autism: University of Virginia Seminar Studies Tension Between ‘Science and Lived Experience of Autism’

The Connection Newspapers (Virginia) Members of The Tribe, a group of young adult nonspeaking autistics from the Washington, D.C. area, participate in a University of Virginia seminar on autism, and meet with state and local politicians. “Gaining a fellowship, Jaswal created the seminar, ‘The Science & Lived Experience of Autism.’ It put 20 UVa students […]

The Power of Finding Your Voice

This TEDx Talk by award-winning veteran journalist Parisa Khosravi tells the story of her son Payam developing the ability to communicate effectively with a letterboard after years of trying other augmentative and alternative communication methods with no success. Parisa discusses the power of communication and how her relationship with Payam has deepened how that he has the ability to communicate.

The role of augmentative and alternative communication for children with autism: current status and future trends

Iacono, T., Trembath, D., & Erickson, S. (2016)
Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 12: 2349–2361

Analyzes 17 systematic reviews of the AAC literature and finds very little high quality research on the efficacy of AAC for the autistic population exists. Most of the AAC research conducted to date has evaluated methods that teach children how to request objects rather than on enabling more robust communication and language development. The paper suggests randomized control trial studies may be inappropriate to assess AAC effectiveness for individuals with complex communication needs. It emphasizes that communication is multimodal and high degrees of individual difference mean that the choice of AAC modality is best dictated by learning needs and preferences.

Livermore Boy Emerges From Autistic Shell, Letter by Letter

The Independent (California) Matteo Musso and his mother Annette of Livermore, California, share their journey with Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) and the homeschooling courses he is taking, including calculus, creative writing, art, math and science. Referring to his participation in the Boy Scouts, Matteo typed, “It is the best social and adventure learning I’ve had […]

Autistic children at risk of being underestimated: school-based pilot study of a strength-informed assessment

Courchesne, V., Meilleur, A.-A.S., Poulin-Lord, M.-P., Dawson, M., & Soulières, I. (2015)
Molecular Autism, 6:12

Establishes that conventional measures of intelligence are inappropriate for non-speaking autistics, and may lead to them being underestimated. This study tested 27 non-speaking autistic children enrolled in special schools and characterized as having “the highest level of impairment,” and 27 non-autistic children using conventional intelligence tests (Wechsler-IV; Leiter-R) and strength-informed assessments (Raven’s Colored Progressive Matrices; Children’s Embedded Figures Test), finding that the non-speaking autistics were generally unable to complete the former set of tests, but sometimes outperformed the typical children in the latter set of assessments.

What We Write about When We Write About AAC: The Past 30 Years of Research and Future Directions

McNaughton, D., & Light, J. (2015)
Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 31:4, 261-270

Reviews 30 years of AAC research and finds that there is very little published research (a) on AAC interventions that allow the user to communicate more than just simple requests, (b) conducted in the natural environment, (c) using natural communication partners rather than researchers themselves, (d) conducted over more than a six-week intervention period, and (e) on adults with complex communication needs.