Augmentative and alternative communication supports for adults with autism spectrum disorders Academic Article uri icon


  • Many adults with autism spectrum disorders have complex communication needs and may benefit from the use of augmentative and alternative communication. However, there is a lack of research examining the specific communication needs of these adults, let alone the outcomes of interventions aimed at addressing them. The aim of this study was to explore the views and experiences of support workers and family members regarding the outcomes of providing low-technology communication aids to adults with autism spectrum disorders. The participants were six support workers and two family members of six men and women with autism spectrum disorders, who had received low-technology communication aids. Using semi-structured, in-depth interviews and following thematic analysis, the results revealed strong support for, and the potential benefits of, augmentative and alternative communication for both adults with autism spectrum disorders and their communication partners. The results also revealed inconsistencies in the actions taken to support the use of the prescribed augmentative and alternative communication systems, pointing to the clinical need to address common barriers to the provision of augmentative and alternative communication support. These barriers include organisational practices and limitations in the knowledge and skills of key stakeholders, as well as problematic attitudes.

publication date

  • 2014