Communication | Organization for Autism Research

Resource Spotlight

Communication is critical in many aspects of daily life to indicate our preferences, needs, and decisions with others. However, not everyone communicates in the same way, so it is important to recognize the usage of alternate forms of communication, including augmentative and alternate communication (AAC), and how best to converse with individuals who may have different communication styles. 

Augmentative and Alternative Communications

This OAR-featured blog written by Madison Brumbaugh, a speech-language pathologist covers: 

  • What AAC is
  • Who it’s for
  • Its benefits
  • How to obtain AAC tools for your child in the public school setting

Importantly, she mentions that AAC is not a one size fits all: “I’ve had the pleasure of working with autistic adults who may not use AAC all the time, but who may use high-tech and low-tech AAC when they’re experiencing increased levels of social anxiety. I’ve also worked with individuals who use AAC at school, but because their family members understand their gestures well, they don’t use AAC at home. It’s not a one-size-fits-all type of prescription. The key is, individuals should be able to choose when and how they use AAC.” 

Communication and Social Skills Lesson Plans

The Autism Center for Excellence at Virginia Commonwealth University has developed a toolkit to help educators and families with some of the basic functional communication and social exchanges and processes necessary for autistic individuals to get their needs met. This toolkit includes an overall description of various domains in social interaction, discussion as to the relevance and importance of the topic, and different activities to facilitate these social skills. 

Some essential communication areas covered in this toolkit include: 

  • Negation
  • Greetings
  • Turn-taking
  • Saying goodbye
  • Asking for more
  • Decision-making

Communication is critical, but it is far from linear. There are multiple modes of communication and it is important to understand the “whys” and “hows” of communication with autistic individuals. 

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Augmentative and Alternative Communication

What is augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)? You may have heard the acronym AAC used by speech-language pathologists, assistive technology specialists, or other healthcare professionals....

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