Archived News: In Research and Intervention
Recent Research Indicates Technology Improves Language for Students with ASD
In recent years, many types of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), or speech generating devices, have become a popular choice for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who experience speech and language difficulty. A newly released study funded by Autism Speaks suggests that the use of a speech generating device in conjunction with play-based therapy can be beneficial for the development of spoken language specifically in students with ASD. The study, led by educational psychologist Connie Kasari, Ph.D., examined 60 students with ASD ranging from age 5 to age 8 who used less than 20 words. All children were provided with two hours of play-based interventions per week; however, half of the children were also exposed to a speech generating device during their session. After 3 months, those who responded slowly to play-based therapy only were then also given access to a device during therapy and an extra hour of therapy each week. At the end of six months, all children demonstrated spoken language gains; however, the students who began therapy with a device made earlier and faster progress than those who did not. This study, along with other previous studies into AAC and language development, suggests that the use of AAC has the potential to facilitate spoken language, even in nonverbal children with ASD over the age of five years.
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