What children on the autism spectrum have to ‘say’ about using high-tech voice output communication aids (VOCAs) in an educational setting

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Checkley, Rebecca ; Hodge, Nick ; Chantler, Susan ; Reidy, Lisa ; Holmes, Katie (2010)

This paper focuses on accessing the experiences of three boys who are on the autism spectrum to identify what using a voice output communication aid (VOCA), within a classroom setting, means to them. The methods used to identify the boys' perspectives are described and evaluated. Establishing these through direct methods of engagement proved problematic but working with parents and school staff as ‘expert guides’ provided a rich insight into what using a VOCA appeared to mean to the boys. The findings suggest that using a computer-based VOCA can be viewed by children with autism as a pleasurable and motivating activity. This technology also seems to offer the potential for a much broader developmental impact for these children than that currently recognised within the research literature.
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