MYTH: My child will never develop vocal speech if they use a device or sign language to communicate.

As a Speech-Language Pathologist I’ve heard this concern frequently when an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) modality was recommended. In fact, this is a common concern shared amongst parents, family members, and other professionals. I get the thought, if we focus on teaching communication in a different way (sign language, using a communication device, PECSĀ®) how will the child learn to use his/her voice to communicate; However, research is showing quite the opposite. We know that when providing and teaching alternative ways of communication that may be initially “easier”, there is no direct correlation to an individual never developing and using vocal speech. While, there are some individuals on the autism spectrum that may never develop functional speech (approximately 25% of individuals diagnosed with ASD), others begin to use vocal speech after using an alternative mode of communication.

For more information visit www.asha.org

Kasey Kanger, MS, CCC-SLP
Assistant Clinical Director
The Hope Source