Challenging Our Belief Systems Regarding People With Autism and AAC: Making the Least Harmful AssumptionsBy Cafiero, Joanne M.; Closing the Gap, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 7-9
Publication Date: April/May 2007
Article in which the author seeks to challenge traditional views regarding the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) by children with autism. The author holds that challenging behaviors are most often the result of an inability to communicate, though challenging behaviors are most often the rationale for not providing AAC interventions to children with Autism in the first place. Some practitioners have reasoned that behaviors must be brought under control before AAC is introduced, or that it is not safe for an aggressive person to have an AAC device. The author disagrees with these views, as she contends that everyone is entitled to tools that allow for communication. Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS) from Pyramid Educational Consultants, Incorporated is discussed, as the intervention is often the first to be considered for children with autism. The system begins with the student requesting preferred object by handing a picture of that object to a teacher, while it progresses to the use of direct questions and comments. The author contends that while PECS is an elegantly structured applied behavior analysis strategy, it was designed primarily for communicative output and does not include receptive language, or input strategies. Therefore, students should be transitioned from PECS to more complex systems, or the application should be paired with receptive language input.
Published by: Closing the Gap, Inc. (Website:http://www.closingthegap.com)