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Reducing negative emotional reactions in a child with autism through AAC: Experiences from China

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Reducing negative emotional reactions in a child with autism through AAC: Experiences from China


Sun Menglin, Wang Xiaoning
Wucailu Center for Children with Autism, Beijing, China

Kristine Stadskleiv, Stephen von Tetzchner
Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, Norway

Aim: Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is relatively new in China and there is a need to document how AAC may benefit children with little or no speech. Yue Yue, a five-year-old boy with autism spectrum disorder, often showed negative emotional reactions when he did not find what he wanted and the adult did not understand him.
Method: Case study design with assessment, intervention and registration of communicative achievement, language development, social skills and behavior problems. Intervention was based on principles described by von Tetzchner and Martinsen (2011), adapted to the Chinese culture. Teachers trained comprehension and expression of graphic symbols, mostly through helping Yue Yue use symbols and gestures to obtain something, and guided his gaze and attention to relevant aspects of the situation. Modelling was used to demonstrate how he could use graphic symbols to communicate. Yue Yue’s parents encouraged graphic symbol use and applied ‘incidental teaching’ in natural situations.
Results: After five months, Yue Yue used 60–70 graphic symbols and some gestures, said 20 new words, appeared more content, and showed less frustration and fewer negative emotional reactions.
Conclusion: Communication intervention reduced frustration and negative emotional reactions when a child with autism spectrum disorder learned to use graphic symbols and gestures.

Author(s):

Menglin Sun    
Wucailu Center for Children with Autism
China

Xiaoning Wang    
Wucailu Center for Children with Autism
China

Kristine Stadskleiv    
Department of Psychology, University of Oslo
Norway

Stephen von Tetzchner    
Department of Psychology, University of Oslo
Norway

 

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