The Best Communication Devices to Support Autism

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Frequent and consistent communication is key to helping a person with autism function in everyday life. The best communication devices can help autistic individuals cope better during times of stress or transition, as well as provide support for caregivers who work long hours.

The “best communication device for autism” is a topic that has been discussed recently. A lot of people are looking for the best communication devices to support their loved one with autism.


Autism communication devices are available in a variety of styles. As mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones become more affordable and accessible, more individuals with autism who struggle to communicate may turn to them for assistance.

Text-to-speech technologies can transform written words into spoken words, however not everyone with autism can benefit from this approach. Instead, many persons with autism can communicate via sign language and gestures, which are non-technological methods.

The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) may assist persons who are unable to communicate verbally in finding appropriate methods to communicate with their loved ones. From software to hardware, PECS systems have become commonplace in communication devices.

In behavior therapy sessions or special education classes, children with autism may benefit from adopting modern technologies.

These choices may cost anything from a few dollars for a text-to-speech software on a smartphone to several hundred dollars for a clinician’s PECS setup.

Why Are Communication Devices & Systems Necessary for Some People With Autism?

Although there is no cure for autism, working with a behavioral therapist to enhance your child’s communicative, social, and cognitive function may help them grow into adults with as much independence as possible.

Autism has a wide spectrum of symptoms that may vary from mild to severe. People with autism often struggle with communication, which might involve acquiring just a few words, repeating specific phrases, or being nonverbal.

There are assistive communication devices that may help persons with autism engage with their family, friends, and carers if they have moderate or severe language challenges. These gadgets might include message boards with drawings and symbols, tablet computers, or even smartphone applications as technology advances.

Supportive Communication Devices for People With Autism

AAC (alternative and augmentative communication) interventions refer to communication equipment. A behavior therapist teaches nonverbal or barely spoken children with autism how to utilize these gadgets so that they may communicate with their families, carers, classmates, and even colleagues or employers as adults.

A study of communication devices discovered that the primary communication goals were to educate youngsters how to make requests and that these devices were successful at doing so. The cognitive and social development associated with being able to interact successfully with others may also assist children with autism.

The Technology’s Underpinning Systems

A therapist may utilize one of two fundamental strategies to assist nonverbal or barely spoken children with autism learn to communicate. These may include the following:

  • Gestures and sign language Some youngsters have the intellectual ability to communicate but have difficulty producing sounds or composing phrases. It is possible to teach these youngsters sign language so that they can communicate with their carers. Children with greater movement issues may still be able to communicate themselves by pointing or gesturing, such as pointing to their lips to indicate that they are hungry. This is a method that does not need any technology, yet it may be necessary for the person being addressed to know sign language or the particular gesture.
  • Communication System for Image Exchange (PECS). PECS, a method that employs symbols or graphics to assist people with autism learn particular phrases and how to interact with others, is used by many devices, both physical and technological. The individual may use these symbols to ask and answer questions, make assertions, and generally conduct a conversation. Many autistic children react strongly to visual stimuli, which makes communication a tangible experience for them. PECS devices may aid in the development of stronger communication skills as well as social, cognitive, and physical abilities in youngsters. This may aid with fine motor movements since younger children must learn to point precisely to pictures in order to have a conversation. Being able to speak may increase one’s self-esteem and desire to engage in social interactions. Devices that employ this method may include a voice generator, allowing neurotypical persons who aren’t trained in PECS to communicate with the person. In certain circumstances, the speaker might illustrate what they wish to express using a literal deck of cards.

Both systems may communicate via cards or hand gestures and are low-tech or no-tech. Because they are portable, they may be the most convenient alternative for many children with autism. As technology progresses, there are programs based on these systems that may increase communication between persons with autism and other neurotypical people who may not be educated in sign language or PECS, such as classmates or colleagues.

The New Wave of Communication Devices is Mobile Technology.

As more individuals have access to smartphones and tablets, more assistive technology becomes more readily available and portable than ever before.

Text-to-speech software can translate words from word processing systems like Microsoft Word and “speak” them out loud, allowing neurotypical individuals to comprehend what a less vocal person with autism is saying. While many speech programs are improving, they aren’t always tailored to help persons with autism.

GoTalks is a software tool that generates speech using a PECS method developed by Attainment Company. Clinicians and special education instructors will appreciate that the program may be installed on its own device. Standard PCs and tablets may also be used to run the software. The firm creates its own portable gadgets that generate speech using PECS.

For a variety of reasons, using a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet is appealing:

  • Because most individuals carry these gadgets, they are not readily apparent.
  • Although GoTalks works well for many, they are versatile in terms of the apps you may use on them.
  • Touchscreens are ideal for persons who have trouble with fine motor skills.
  • In today’s environment, learning computer skills in general is beneficial.

Because these gadgets are relatively new, limited data exists on how successful they are in comparison to a deck of PECS cards, a PECS board, sign language, or hand gestures. It will function on an individual basis, just like any other assistive communication device or system, and there will be no one-size-fits-all answer for persons with autism.

Smartphone applications may cost a few dollars, whereas software might cost several hundred dollars. Some software may be provided by a physician or subsidized by insurance to some extent. It’s possible that you’ll have to bear the costs yourself in certain circumstances.

Education Is Crucial to Using Communication Devices & Systems Effectively

For decades, portable technology has been developing to assist persons with autism in communicating. Tape recorders, projectors, timers, and simpler voice output devices have been available for a long time, however they are not truly “mobile” technology. Nonverbal persons with autism have benefited from these technologies, which have improved their capacity to communicate and navigate the neurotypical environment.

An autistic person’s capacity to communicate via interpreting social signals may be aided by education with a behavior therapist or program. A therapist could educate an autistic kid about certain facial expressions by showing them a movie or photographs of faces turning into different emotions and then having them play a game to figure out which emotion they are experiencing.

With the aid of a speech-language pathologist or a special education teacher, the kid may learn specific words that will help him or her comprehend what others are saying. Learning idioms and their meanings may assist children with mild to moderate autism symptoms in comprehending emotional or expressive language without needing them to grasp every word in the sentence.

These courses use technology in a variety of ways. Although the youngster does not carry technology with them to communicate, they will still spend several hours each week interacting with a computer, software, or other technology.

Communication devices used in therapy or classroom sessions are considered part of the educational process, and the program will pay for them. However, you may be required to pay for the educator’s, therapist’s, or clinician’s time. Some of this, such as applied behavior analysis (ABA) treatment, may be reimbursed by your health insurance.

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution.

Finally, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to assisting children with autism in developing communication skills. Working with a behavior therapist early in childhood may provide the kid with alternatives, and the therapist can assist them in determining the ideal configuration for their requirements.

Electronic devices provide mobility, access to text-to-speech software, and increased flexibility for more persons with autism. This allows them to communicate with those who may not be familiar with PECS or other assisted communication equipment.


Autism Spectrum Disorder Treatment and Intervention Services (Updated September 2019) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a U.S. government agency that (CDC).

The Current Status and Future Trends of Augmentative and Alternative Communication for Children with Autism. (2016, September). Treatment of Neuropsychiatric Disorders

A Parent’s Guide to No-Tech and Low-Tech AAC for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). (April 12, 2012) The Kennedy Center at Vanderbilt University is located in Nashville, Tennessee.

Common Assistive Technologies for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). (In March of 2020). The University of Illinois Library is a great place to start.

Attainment company GoTalks.

Major Trends and Issues in Mobile Technology for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. (Updated October 2012). 2012 IEEE Symposium on E-Learning Conference Paper

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Can Benefit from Assistive Technology.

The “communication devices for autistic adults” is a topic that has been discussed in the autism community. These devices are designed to help people with autism communicate better, and improve their quality of life.

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