However you say it, we’re listening!

It is not uncommon for people on the autism spectrum to have no or very limited speech. Others may have difficulty expressing themselves verbally in some situations. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) provides an alternative or supplement to speech. It includes a range of communication methods from unaided (e.g., sign language) to light tech (e.g., communication books) to high tech (e.g., communication devices). At AssistiveWare we develop high-tech AAC apps for iOS. So you might think we consider that the ultimate way to communicate for AAC users. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Multi-modal communication

We strongly believe it is important to respect all forms of communication. When visiting schools, we always emphasize that if a student has signed, gestured or in another way communicated effectively, we should not tell them “now say it on your talker”. Everyone uses multi-modal ways to communicate. From glances, to grimaces, gestures, or mumbling, no one relies purely on speech. We read a smile without asking someone to say “I am happy”. We respond to that look. This is not different and should be no different for AAC users. However it is said, we should be listening.

Light-tech AAC is valuable

We also believe that high-tech AAC is not always the best approach. In some cases it is good to use light-tech AAC, or compliment high-tech with light tech. For some people, partner-assisted scanning with a PODD communication book may be more appropriate than an iPad with Proloquo2Go. We even provide free light-tech core word boards. They are available as free downloads in our AssistiveWare Core Word Classroom. What ever tool, means or method of communication is used, we should be listening.

Autism Acceptance Month

April is International Autism Acceptance Month. One aspect of acceptance is respecting the many ways autistic children, teens and adults communicate. However someone communicates, we should listen. During the course of this month we will be sharing several resources on this topic, so stay tuned.

David Niemeijer, Founder and CEO of AssistiveWare

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Comments on
"However you say it, we’re listening!"

Claudia Marimon's picture

Muchas veces la combinación de todos los recursos a través del modelado le muestra a los niños y jóvenes estrategias alternativas de comunicación que pueden usar. Uno de mis estudiantes cuando quiere decir algo... busca en su P2Go, si no encuentra busca en su PODD y si no encuentra la forma de decirlo hace algún gesto.

Lauren Enders's picture

Great post. Thank you.

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