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“More to say:” enabling functional communication through aided language stimulation for a child with Autism.

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Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders are commonly labelled as the most difficult of all children with disabilities to teach. Contributing to this challenge is the published recognition that a high number of children on the Autism Spectrum are non-verbal. Due to assumptions and lowered expectations of this particular group of children, interventions have often been limited to teaching basic life skills and highly structured and conservative AAC strategies.

Like many families around the world, this had been the experience for one supportive family in Melbourne over the past eight and a half years. Told that their son hadn’t reached the level required to achieve a communication system, and that within his special school he had made no progress in social, academic or communication skills in three years, bringing AAC and education together seemed an improbable dream.

This presentation will describe the journey of a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder whose family recognised that he had “more to say.” Through the modelling and supported teaching of natural aided language stimulation and the implementation of PODD communication systems in both light and high technology, this child can now access the tools he needs to “say what he wants to say” and actively participate in his school environment and academic curriculum for the very first time. By maintaining open expectations and actively striving towards functional communication competence they have shown what may be possible for many children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.


Haylee Parfett    
Haylee Parfett Speech Pathology/Cerebral Palsy Education Centre


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