Authors: Dyches TT
Title: Effects of Switch Training on the Communication of Children with Autism and Severe Disabilities
Source: Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities 1998 13(3): 151-162
Year: 1998
Research Design: Single Case Design

The use of simple augmentative and alternative communication systems for physically able individuals with autism and severe disabilities has not been sufficiently explored. Individuals with severe physical disabilities have used switches primarily to gain control over their environment, yet these switches have the potential to also serve as communication strategies. Thus, investigation of switch training for communicative purposes is warranted. This action-oriented study examined the effects of switch training on the communication of four functionally nonverbal students with severe disabilities and autism. Several elements of communication were investigated: (a) number of communicative interactions, (b) number of spontaneous communicative interactions, (c) percentage of independent communicative interactions, and (d) number of verbalizations. Results indicated that switch training was an effective strategy for helping the students communicate a simple message. The benefits of switch use and implications for future research are discussed.

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