Communication Interventions

Sign Language: Can be useful as an intermediary form of communication but should be used with picture based and speech language interventions.

Total Communication: Total communication appears to be a viable treatment strategy for teaching receptive and expressive vocabulary (i.e., language content) to individuals. For individuals with limited verbal imitation skills, speech alone approaches are less effective than total communication approaches. Total communication often results in comprehension and expression with objects, picture supports, signs and speech.

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)/Discrete Trial: Comparison studies between discrete-trial training and natural language paradigm have found mixed results in skill acquisition and generalization. There is no compelling evidence that milieu teaching procedures are clearly more effective than the procedures that have developed out of ABA or Discrete-Trial procedures.

Functional Communication Training: Functional communication training has been shown to be effective for remediating echolalia, noncompliance, and disruptive behavior.

Milieu Communication Training (MCT): Research on milieu language teaching procedures have been extensive and seems to suggest this intervention is successful in teaching early language skills to a broad population of children.

Naturalistic Communication Interventions: Children learn language in every day interactions with their parents and caregivers. Consequently, interventions should emphasize natural interaction processes. A comparison of studies between discrete-trial training and natural language interventions have found mixed results in skill acquisition and generalization.

Pragmatics/Social Skills: Evidence on peer facilitation, scripted interactions, and interventions involving modeling, rehearsal, and token reinforcement have shown these interventions to be highly effective in increasing social interaction with peers and adults. These strategies include Social Stories.

Picture Exchange Communication System is a picture based intervention where learners are taught to give a picture of a desired item to a communicative partner in exchange for the item. Overall, the evidence supports the use of PECS as a tool for developing communication in children with autism, especially when it is taught before the child is six years old.