Autism and Augmentative and Alternative Communication Core Principles
By: Joanne M. Cafiero, PhD
Assume communication potential! It will make a qualitative difference in how you teach, approach and talk to individuals on the Autism Spectrum.
There is growing evidence that ASD has a strong motor component, impacting the ease with which an individual can show what they know.
Instruction and activities must be MEANINGFUL. Rote, meaningless drills are boring, and while a student may demonstrate the ability to learn disconnected, unrelated skills, they have no real life enhancing value.
The most effective activities and curricular materials are concrete, connected to the real world and have value to the person on the Autism Spectrum.
Remember that you may collect and analyze scientifically valid data showing progress on skills that may be irrelevant or dead-end skills.
Communication is not a tool, a service, an activity, or a “thing-to-do”, it is a way of being. It’s what humans do. Opportunities to communicate should be continuous. Tools to augment communication (AAC) should be ubiquitous.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) not only helps “unlock” language but provides the supports to help limited speakers develop more complex language.