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Visual scene displays versus grid layouts to teach requesting to preschool children with ASD

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Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is an important strategy for supporting the expressive communication of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) many of whom will not develop functional speech. With the use of mainstream tablet technology, the potential for AAC options has increased. This includes different visual display options used to organize the vocabulary. Traditional displays have involved the use of grid layouts, newer possibilities have, however, included the use of visual scene displays (VSDs) which have the potential to embed language in contexts potentially reducing cognitive load. Emerging evidence from eye tracking research has, on the other hand, suggested that a grid layout may be more efficient for children with ASD. The aim of this paper is therefore to compare a grid layout with a VSD on a mainstream tablet with an AAC application to teach requesting skills to 4 preschool children with ASD. This single case pilot project (part of a PhD) utilized an adapted alternating treatment design embedded in a multiple probe baseline. Each child received intervention in both treatment conditions utilizing a protocol designed for the study. The presentation will report on the findings of this project. Discussion will focus on the utility of the intervention protocol and its comparative effects on requesting skills. This will be linked to child characteristics which may influence the clinician’s choice of visual display.


May Agius    
Manchester Metropolitan University
United Kingdom

Janice Murray    
Manchester Metropolitan University
United Kingdom

Sharon Borg    


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