Aided Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Systems for Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorders

Aided Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Systems for Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorders

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3069-6.ch006
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Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are complex neuro-developmental disorders. They demonstrate pervasive deficits in social communication, restricted and repetitive behaviors, cognitive impairments, etc. Most often individuals with ASDs are often considered “non-verbal” and they require comprehensive intervention to improve their functional communication skills. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) was always viewed as a “last resort” for people with complex communication needs when all other interventions failed to achieve the potential benefit. However, with growing evidence, AAC has been implemented even in children with communication difficulties to augment spoken language development. Thus, this chapter aims to discuss the characteristics of ASD, to describe the need for AAC intervention in children with ASD, challenges and practices of AAC in ASD, to review implementation of aided AAC systems for children with ASD in different contexts, to indicate the gaps and future prospective in AAC intervention for people with ASDs.
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Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that begins in early childhood/developmental period. It is a complex condition marked by a wide range of symptoms and varying degree of severity. ASD is characterised by persistent impairments in social interaction, communication, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behaviours, interests, or activities (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013). Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are also referred to as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD) that includes a spectrum of disorders such as Autism, Asperger’s syndrome, Rett’s syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD), and Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NoS). As per the reports of Autism Society of America, the rate of incidence of autism is increasing 10-17% per year in the US and the prevalence of autism is expected to reach 4 million people in the next decade in the United States. Also, autism is found to be four times more prevalent in males than girls in the US. However, in India, the incidence rate of autism is found to be approximately 1 in11,914 people and prevalence rate of autism is found to be 1 in 500 people (Centre for Disease Control).

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