What are the best assistive tools to help autistic children communicate better?
In some elementary schools I know they use whats called social stories. Social stories are given to the autistic student and describe how a typical day is supposed to go and then discuss with the teacher.
picture cards and word cards, word matching, encouraging speech and communication along with sign language - makaton...
Here are a couple of useful websites:
I am no expert in this area - however, I have a friend who has two autistic children and I think she has had success with an ipad.
Picture schedules and a picture exchange communication system (PECS) are a good foundation for communication. With access to PECS, either with pieces of paper, or with computer programs, communication can go both ways between the child with autism and those around them. You can make visual schedules with PECS, use them to request items, express feelings, discuss topics, answer and ask questions, and so on. If using paper, you can laminate and velcro the pictures, and keep them in folders and binders. You can also use an ipad, itouch, or other tablets to use these systems, which often include voice output as well. There are also stand alone devices by companies such as Dynavox, Saltillo, and the like. These are called AAC devices, if you want to research the various companies that make them.
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