notes (if applicable):
|Why this is important:- Many people with autism experience significant communication problems (for example, the absence of any spoken language or significant deficits in interpersonal skills), which have a profound effect on their ability to lead a full and rewarding life. It is probable that these problems are related to the core symptoms of autism and are likely to persist for most people given the lifelong course of autism and the lack of effective interventions for these core symptoms. A number of communication devices have been developed for autism but few, if any, have been subjected to a proper evaluation in adults. Despite this lack of formal evaluation, individual services have made considerable investments in augmentative communication devices. Research that provides high-quality evidence on the acceptability and the clinical and cost effectiveness of augmentative communication devices could bring about significant improvements in the lives of adults with autism.
The suggested programme of research would need to identify current devices for which there is:
(a) some evidence of benefit (for example, case series and small-scale pilot studies); (b) some
evidence that it meets a key communication need for people with autism (based on reviews of
people's need in this area); and (c) indication that the device is feasible for routine use. The
identified device(s) should then be formally evaluated in a large-scale randomised trial.