Many children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have difficulty with communication – approximately 20% of children with ASD may not use speech as their primary mode of communication. For these individuals, AAC can support communication for social participation, academic learning, and language development.
Research has shown that children with ASD can learn to use AAC systems and strategies, however there is still much to learn about how to to best support children with ASD in learning communication skills.
Research at Penn State is investigating how to design and support AAC systems that will help children with ASD
- learn language and communication skills
- develop literacy skills
- participate in general education classrooms
We are also conducting research in order to better understand the perspectives of parents and teachers, and to identify strategies to support communication and collaboration among AAC team members.
Finke, E. H., Davis, J. M., Benedict, M., Goga, L., Kelly, J., Palumbo, L., Peart, T. and & Waters, S. (2017). Effects of a least-to-most prompting procedure on multisymbol message production in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 1-18.
Boyle, S., Chapin, S., & McNaughton, D. (2016, August). Dialogic reading for children with autism spectrum disorders: A review of AAC needs and interventions. Presentation at the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) Conference, Toronto, Canada [abstract, poster as a pdf]
Chapin, S., McNaughton, D., Boyle, S., (August 8, 2016). “Effects of Peer Support Interventions on the Communication of Preschoolers with ASD: A Systematic Review.” Presentation at ISAAC. Toronto, Canada. [Handout].
Richardson, L., McCoy, A., McNaughton, D., Sayed, A., (August 8, 2016). “Successful Employment of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication.” Presentation at ISAAC. Toronto, Canada. [Handout].
Breakstone, B., & Light, J. (Aug. 8, 2016). “Symbol-infused play for children with complex communication needs.” Presentation at ISAAC. Toronto, Canada. [Handout].
Holyfield, C., Drager, K., Davis, J. (April 7, 2016). “Shifting Focus: The Importance of Participation in AAC and Autism.” Poster presentation at PSHA: Pittsburgh, PA. [Handout]
Reichle, J., Ganz, J., Drager, K., & Parker-McGowan, Q. (2016). Augmentative and Alternative Communication Applications for Persons with ASD and Complex Communication Needs. In Prelinguistic and Minimally Verbal Communicators on the Autism Spectrum (pp. 179-213). Springer Singapore.
Liang, J., Wilkinson, K., & Regiec, C. (November 12, 2015). Gaze Toward Social Interactions in Photographs by Individuals with Autism: Implications for AAC Design. Poster presentation at ASHA: Denver, Colorado.
Holyfield, C. & Drager, K. (November 12, 2015). Classifying Research Foci: Applying the ICF Framework. Poster session at ASHA: Denver, Colorado.
Wilkinson, K. & Light, J. (2014 Apr 29, Epub). Preliminary Study of Gaze Toward Humans in Photographs by Individuals with Autism, Down Syndrome, or Other Intellectual Disabilities: Implications for Design of Visual Scene Displays. Augmentative and Alternative Communication. [Abstract]
Finke, E., & Davis, J., (November 16, 2013). Friendship: Investigating the Perspectives of Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorder & Their Parents. Poster at ASHA in Chicago, IL.
Finke, E., & Hinkerson, B., (November 16, 2013). Parent Perceptions of Video Game Engagement by Children With ASD. Poster at ASHA in Chicago, IL.
Tobin, M. & Finke, E. (November 14, 2013). A Proposed Model for Individualizing Social & Communication Supports for Adults With ASD. Poster at ASHA in Chicago, IL.
Davis, J., Finke, E., (November 14, 2013). The Experience of Military Families With Autism Diagnostic & Therapeutic Services. Poster Session at ASHA in Chicago, IL. [Handout]
Serpentine, L., Drager, K., Clark, E., (November 15, 2013). Teaching Open-Ended Partner-Focused Questions to Adolescents With Autism to Enhance Communicative Competence. Poster at ASHA in Chicago, IL.
Davis, J., & Finke, E. (November 15, 2013). The Relationship Between Imitation & Joint Attention in Children With ASD: A Systematic Review. Poster at AHSA in Chicago, IL.
Davis, J., & Finke, E., (November 14, 2013). The Experience of Military Families With Autism Diagnostic & Therapeutic Services. Poster Session at ASHA in Chicago, IL. [Handout]
Wilkinson, K., & McIlvane, W. J. (2013). Perceptual factors influence visual search for meaningful symbols in individuals with intellectual disabilities and Down syndrome or autism spectrum disorders. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 118(5):353-64. [Abstract]
Light, J. & McNaughton, D. (2011). Improving literacy outcomes for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and limited speech (Webcast)
Light, J. & McNaughton, D. (2009). Literacy instruction for individuals with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and other disabilities– (Website)