The Autism Society Event and Education Recordings Archive

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5559 Get up and Go! Teaching Children with Autism to Communicate At Home [ASHA Session]

Friday, July 8, 2011: 11:00 AM-12:15 PM
Sun 1-2 (Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center)
The CDC reports forty percent of children with autism have no speech. Speech Generating Devices (SGDs) include a multi-sensory approach that engages children with autism. Studies have reported the following results of children with autism using SGDs: increases in communication, social behaviors, and generalization. Successfully incorporating an SGD into the home includes engaging the team in knowledge and application of the device, working together to determine family goals and needs, and embedding the device in daily life and routines. My presentation is designed for family members, therapists, and teachers who already have background knowledge of speech generating devices, core vocabulary use, and understand how to incorporate augmentative communication to help an individual communicate basic needs and wants. As the individual’s basic needs and wants are met, use of the device should be expanded to more recreational uses of the device, generalizing to more communication partners, and embedded in daily activities that are reinforcing to the individual. At this intermediate stage, family members, therapists, and teachers may have more difficulty determining activities, choice of core vocabulary, and how to incorporate daily activities and routines. This intermediate stage takes more creativity, spontaneity, and familiarity with the device.

During the presentation, topics such as background knowledge of speech generating devices, incorporating a device in daily situations, importance of team collaboration, explaining communication devices to people that are unfamiliar, ways to increase home use of the device, modeling good communication, and responding to the individual using augmentative communication. Research studies including speech generating devices among children with autism will be examined.

The presentation will focus on how to successfully incorporate a device into the home and the family. The family’s thoughts and perceptions are important when determining to use a speech generating device, however, are overlooked more often than not. Families, therapists, and teachers will be adequately prepared to increase opportunities for communication among children with autism.     

Last, participants will interact with one another to brainstorm how to incorporate daily activities and routines into the use of the device in ways that are reinforcing to the user at home. The activities and suggestions generated will be shared and each participant will leave the workshop with activities they can use immediately.  This will include some role playing or talking through the identified activities to determine plausibility, make sure participants select a variety of vocabulary, and feel comfortable with incorporating into daily routines.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will increase background knowledge of research studies utilizing speech generating devices among children with autism.
  • Participants will learn new strategies to incorporate children with autism using speech generating devices in natural settings, activities, and routines.
  • Participants will generate strategies and techniques that can be used immediately among children with autism using speech generating devices.

Content Area: Communication


Rebecca Elizabeth Mullican, M.Ed.
Doctoral Candidate
University of Southern Mississippi

Rebecca Mullican is a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern Mississippi. She has eight years of classroom experience with children with autism and received Teacher of the Year in 2005-2006. Ms. Mullican has received extensive training in teaching students with autism, communication, socialization, behavior, and sensory integration issues.