Effectiveness of augmentative and alternative communication for children with autism spectrum disorder - a systematic review of the literature
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Communication is crucial for growth and development and communication disorders hamper a child's ability to learn and interact socially. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) in improving the communication skills and social interaction skills of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), through a systematic review of literature. A total of 28 relevant studies were found and outcomes appraised. Results indicated that in 71% cases, AAC is more effective in improving the communication and social interaction skills of children with ASD compared to baseline and other methods. However, weak study designs and methodologies resulted in low levels of evidence; most of the studies used single subject or quasi-experimental designs without a control group. Research using more rigorous methods (such as randomized controlled trials) is needed and would provide more conclusive evidence than what was found in this study.