Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Document Type


Publication Date



Medicine and Health Sciences


Individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are often characterized as having impairments in both speech and communication. Assistive technology is a way to improve the lives of these individuals by opening the door to stronger communication abilities. The current project examines current AAC technologies such as picture exchange communication (PEC), speech generated devices (SGD) and more. In addition, the advantages of using these technologies will be explored. A systematic review of literature was conducted regarding augmentative and alternative communication systems in autism spectrum disorder. The following databases were included in the review: Ebscohost, Google Scholar, Academic Search Premier, and ClinicalKey. Articles published in peer-reviewed journals were used including meta-analyses and systematic reviews. Additional supportive information was obtained from professional and educational websites. Augmentative and alternative communication systems use a variety of techniques and tools. Both PEC and SGD have been found to be far more effective than manual signs. Speech generated devices have been found to be most favorable among teachers and the individuals operating the devices. In one study, SGD proved to increase communication behaviors by 53.5%. Also, independent requests increased to 85%. These devices have also increased peer recognition and support due to the increase in understanding of individuals diagnosed with ASD. Overall, the research done concerning the topic of augmentative and alternative communication systems provides evidence that individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder can obtain communication regardless of their speech impairment. Keywords: iPad assistive technology, speech generated devices, picture exchange communication, peers, autism spectrum disorder.

First Advisor

Musheera AnisAbdellatif

Research Area

Health Sciences

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