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Choosing an Appropriate Communication Modality

Lynn Dudek, M.A.,CCC-SLP

April 26, 2010



How do you choose which communication modality to use for children with ASD?


This is where the behavioral observation that is part of your assessment is really going to help you. If you have someone that really doesn't like to be touched, especially around their hands, then sign language probably isn't the first place you are going to go. So you are going to go to your picture-based type of communication. I have kids who are more movers and shakers and don't like to be in one space. They like to be moving around so we are going to use a communication modality, such as PECS, because we want the kids to be more independent and walking to someplace to get what they need and then move back. In terms of verbal speech, there are kids who engage in echolalia and we would want to focus on verbal speech to see if we can get that to develop.

This Ask the Expert was taken from the course entitled: Practical Therapy Ideas for Children with ASD presented by Lynn Dudek.

Please visit the SpeechPathology.com eLearning Library to view all of our courses on autism and many other topics in the field.

Lynn Dudek is the Autism Services and Medical Rehabilitation Manager at Easter Seals Central and South East Ohio as well as the owner of the private practice ASDSLP. She is a speech-language pathologist who has specialized in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders for over 17 years. Over the years, Lynn has presented at the local, state, and national levels on various topics regarding autism, communication, and assessment.

Related Courses

Autism and Severe Cognitive Impairment - Where do I start?
Presented by Lynn M. Dudek, M.S., M.B.A., CCC-SLP


Lynn M. Dudek, M.S., M.B.A., CCC-SLP
Course: #6193 1 Hour
  'Great examples and case studies'   Read Reviews
Speech pathologists are faced with a varied caseload. When treating children with autism and severe cognitive disorders it can be very difficult knowing where to start and what goals to set. This course will address the specific needs of these very early learners.

Theory of Mind Therapy to Boost Social Skills and Comprehension of Literature
Presented by Carol Krakower, MA, CCC-SLP


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Course: #6293 1 Hour
  'Presenter explains Theory of Mind in clear, methodical manner'   Read Reviews
Theory of Mind has been thought to be a core deficit in children with autism. A child who is impaired in the ability to understand what another can perceive, what another can know and what another can believe will find it difficult to navigate social situations and understand basic stories and conversations. Theory of Mind can be taught on a developmental basis. Not only will this make a great difference to your student, it is fun! In this course, you will learn what Theory of Mind is and creative ways to teach it through stories and games.

AAC Intervention Strategies for Social Competency
Presented by Trina Becker, MS, CCC-SLP


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  'Great real life videos'   Read Reviews
Social skills for AAC users are important for establishing connections with others, developing friendships and functioning in the community. Strategies for developing social competency skills with AAC users will be shared.

Treatment to Improve Timing & Synchronization of Critical Neural Networks for Speech, Language, and Cognitive-Communicative Abilities; presented in partnership with Interactive Metronome
Presented by Amy Vega, MS, CCC-SLP


Amy Vega, MS, CCC-SLP
Course: #6508 1 Hour
  'Very inspiring presentation'   Read Reviews
Synchronous timing of neural networks is critical for the core skills of attention, working memory, processing accuracy/speed, and executive functions that underlie speech, language and cognitive-communicative function in people of all ages. Researchers have identified that many of the individuals we see for SLP services exhibit impaired neural timing & synchronization, including those diagnosed with Dyslexia and other reading disorders, Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Aphasia associated with stroke and acquired brain injury, cognitive-communicative impairments associated with acquired brain injury, and cognitive and motor planning/sequencing impairments seen in Parkinson’s disease. This course will introduce you to a patented, non-invasive biometric technology, called the Interactive Metronome, that is specifically designed to help you objectively evaluate and treat this underlying impairment in timing & rhythm in order to achieve better SLP treatment outcomes.

Fluency Disorders in the ASD Population
Presented by Kathleen Scaler Scott, PhD, CCC-SLP


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Course: #6580 1 Hour
  'This course helped guide my search through current literature on ASD and stuttering (particularly WFDs)'   Read Reviews
This course will present the latest information regarding what is known and unknown about the presence, possible causes, and potential effective treatments of fluency disorders in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). Advanced review of cognitive features of ASDs which may play a role in assessment and treatment of disfluencies will be discussed. Examples of practical application of existing information will be presented.