Nonspeech Communication and Childhood Autism Speech has been a prime target of remedial efforts with the autistic population. But so far, prospects of functional language gains have remained poor. Because alternative nonspeech communication systems have become increasingly employed in cases of language deficiencies, it needs to be determined whether such systems hold promise for the ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 1981
Nonspeech Communication and Childhood Autism
 
Author Notes
  • Adriana L. Schuler is a postdoctorate fellow in the Special Education Program, Graduate School of Education, University of California at Santa Barbara, California 93106, where reprint requests may be sent. Marylud Baldwin is a doctoral student in Special Education in the joint program between San Francisco State University and University of California, Berkeley.
    Adriana L. Schuler is a postdoctorate fellow in the Special Education Program, Graduate School of Education, University of California at Santa Barbara, California 93106, where reprint requests may be sent. Marylud Baldwin is a doctoral student in Special Education in the joint program between San Francisco State University and University of California, Berkeley.×
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 1981
Nonspeech Communication and Childhood Autism
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 1981, Vol. 12, 246-257. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.1204.246
History: Received October 4, 1980 , Accepted January 12, 1981
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 1981, Vol. 12, 246-257. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.1204.246
History: Received October 4, 1980; Accepted January 12, 1981

Speech has been a prime target of remedial efforts with the autistic population. But so far, prospects of functional language gains have remained poor. Because alternative nonspeech communication systems have become increasingly employed in cases of language deficiencies, it needs to be determined whether such systems hold promise for the autistic individual and which systems are most suitable.

This paper reviews the various nonspeech options available to clinicians and educators, and it discusses them critically with regard to behavioral characteristics of the autistic and autistic-like individual. Comparisons are made between the various systems in terms of the sense modalities involved and the discriminations required, the complexity of the response mode, and the coding potential. A rationale is presented for selecting a communication system commensurate with level of communicative (nonverbal) and conceptual development and with learning strategies of individual children.

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