Author Archive for: defendingcomm

Entries by United for Communication Choice

Tito Mukhopadhyay, “Classical Autism and the Instruction of Literature”

This video shows a presentation given at Duke University in 2015 by Tito Mukhopadhyay and Grinnell College English professor Ralph Savarese. They recount their conversations about literature, which took place by Skype over seven years, and answer questions from the audience about disability, inclusion, literature, and Tito’s writing. Tito joins the conversation at minute 40:49 of the video, where he can be seen sitting on the stage and typing independently. Tito learned to type using Rapid Prompting Method, which was developed by his mother, Soma Mukhopadhyay. The presentation took place on April 27, 2015, and the video was uploaded to YouTube on August 3, 2017.

Minimally Verbal School-Aged Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: The Neglected End of the Spectrum

Tager-Flusberg, H., & Kasari, C. (2013)
Autism Research: Official Journal of the International Society for Autism Research, 6:6

Finds that even though about 30% of children with autism spectrum disorder are minimally verbal, even after receiving years of interventions and a range of educational opportunities, almost all autism research focuses on verbal children, and thus most autism research cannot be assumed to be relevant to the minimally verbal. Observes that the non-verbal and minimally-verbal autistic population is itself highly heterogeneous, and the causes of and solutions for their inability to speak cannot be generalized. Finds there is almost no evidence for effective AAC or language interventions in the minimally verbal ASD population; and no data exists to support PECS or iPad-based AAC applications improving communicative functions beyond requesting. Provides suggestions for how researchers can improve our understanding of and develop more effective interventions for minimally verbal children with autism.

Wretches and Jabberers

Documentary filmmaker Gerardine Wurzburg documents the international travels of Tracy Thresher and Larry Bissonnette, two adult non-speaking autistics who type to communicate, highlighting the often hidden intelligence of many non-speaking autistics. Tracy and Larry share their own stories and meet with other non-speakers around the world who use AAC.

Communication Partner Instruction in AAC: Present Practices and Future Directions

Kent-Walsh, J., & McNaughton, D. (2005)
Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 21:3, 195-204

Discusses the importance of skilled and well-trained communication partners in interactions between individuals with complex communication needs who use AAC and others. Notes that little attention has been paid to communication partner instruction and proposes avenues for more research and focus in this important aspect of AAC.

The Level and Nature of Autistic Intelligence

Dawson, M., Soulières, I., Gernsbacher, M.A., & Mottron, L. (2007)
Psychological Science, 18:8, 657–662

Empirically tested assumptions about autistic intelligence using both the Wechsler scales of intelligence and Raven’s Progressive Matrices, concluding that “intelligence has been underestimated in autistics.” Study found that on average, autistics tested 30 percentile points, and in some cases more than 70 percentile points, higher on the Raven’s than on the Wechsler. Nonautistic controls showed no such discrepancy. No autistic subjects in the study scored in the “high intelligence” range on the Wechsler, while one-third of the autistic children scored at or above the 90th percentile on the Raven’s, and the mean adult autistic score was in the 83rd percentile on the Raven’s but in the 50th percentile on the Wechsler. One-third of the autistic children tested in the intellectually-disabled range on the Wechsler, but only 5% did on the Raven’s.