Please answer the following question:
Discuss the variety of communication devices/alternative communication strategies available for students with ASD. What are some of the low-tech strategies? What are some of the high-tech strategies? What are benefits to each?
Respond to student discussion boards:
(KIM)Both low tech and high tech devices and strategies have their benefits for the students. Low teach but affordable ones such as picture boards or flip books pictures are used to express the child’s needs or desires. It helps to eliminate their frustration when trying to get their needs met. Sign language is a very practical and functional way for children to communicate and can be taught through videos and modeling. Higher tech devices such as tablets can be effective but there is a large learning curve on how to use the device and it can take time for the child to develop language skills due to the length of time it takes to master the device. There is also a picture exchange system that can be used to exchange the picture for the item the child wants. The device speaks the word out loud. There are many applications that can be used with smart phones and tablets and might be more affordable as they would only cost a few hundred dollars in to purchase all of them verses thousands of dollars for an AAC machine.
(JIME) There are a variety of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices and systems available for students with ASD. These systems and devices are necessary to assist students who are nonverbal or with communication deficits. Many student with ASD have complex communication needs (CCN) which is a hallmark characteristic of the disorder. There are both high tech and low tech options, and benefits to both.
The benefits of low tech AAC include portability, ease in creation of new materials, they are inexpensive, less probability of loss or damage, and ease of use by the general public (Ganz, 2014). Most low tech AAC’s involve pointing at, or choosing pictures, to communicate. For example, the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a widely used, picture based, low tech AAC, that allows students to make requests, comment, answer a question, or engage in conversations (Ganz, 2014).
The benefits of high tech AAC include that they are lightweight, convenient, powerful, efficeint and fast to use, and are more appealing to individuals with ASD which leads to less abandonment of use (Ganz, 2014). Some examples of high tech AAC include Dynavox, Compass, and Proloquo2Go. Some of these high tech options offer visual scene display (VSD). This is beneficial because it involves pictures of photos of whole scenes with hot spots that the student can touch and the object being touched is named. This helps with vocabulary and understanding what objects might look like in their natural setting (Ganz, 2014).
Ganz, J.B. (2014). Aided augmentative communication for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. New York: Springer Science + Business Media.
(meagan) When looking at the different types of low-tech devices, the main one that comes to mind is the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). The PECS was designed to be used specifically by individuals with autism (Ganz, 2014). A PECS system is kept in a binder with pictures with VELCRO attached and are then used by the individual with ASD to help them communicate, by handing the specified icon, to another individual in order to make a request (Ganz, 2014). The PECS are a great low-tech way for students with ASD to communicate and it doesn’t require much money to make a PECS binder. Icons in a PECS binder can be pictures that have been taken from the individuals environment and then formatted to fit into the binder for them to use when communicating.
The use of high-tech devices are becoming more popular and range from single button devices to computers that the users can add vocabulary to when necessary (Ganz, 2014). One of the biggest benefits of high-tech devices are that they are getting smaller and more lightweight over time and therefore, easier for individuals with communication needs to take with them where they go during the day (Ganz, 2014). While there are many types of high-tech devices, we have used the BigMack and the GoTalk9 in my classroom. I have noticed that my students prefer the BigMack over the GoTalk9 and to be honest, I do too. The BigMack is just one button that my students have to push, while the GoTalk9 has multiple options and my students who are lower performing struggle with that many options. However, both options have their benefits and have been able to help my students communicate more effectively.
Ganz, J. B. (2014). Aided augmentative communication for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. New York, NY: Springer Publishing.