MCH Research >

(SDAR) Effects of AAC Interventions on Speech Production for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Other Developmental Disabilities: Asystematic Review and Meta-analysis


  • Toddlerhood (13-35 months)
  • Early Childhood (3-5 years)
  • Middle Childhood (6-11 years)
  • Adolescence (12-18 years)
  • Young Adulthood (19-25 years)

Targeted/Underserved Population

  • Special Health Care Needs


This project responds to the HRSA-19-090 R41 Autism Secondary Data Analysis Research Program. Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and individuals with other Developmental Disabilities (DD) who are minimally verbal are an under-researched and underserved subpopulation of ASD/DD. Increasingly, the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) interventions have been found effective in improving the communicative competence and language skills of these populations. Despite these advances, the AAC field continues to face fears from a variety of stakeholder groups that the adoption or the continued use of AAC modalities may hinder speech production in these two subpopulations. If left unanswered, these fears may lead families to postpone, or worse, reject AAC modalities altogether leaving their children less likely to reach their full communicative potential. Using systematic review and meta-analyses methodology, the overall goal of this project is to synthesize the intervention literature on the effects of AAC intervention on natural speech production in individuals with (a) ASD and (b) other developmental disabilities (DD). The deliverables will yield two rigorous, transparent and up-to-date systematic reviews/metaanalyses. Additionally, we will prepare five additional peer-reviewed submission on a range of methodological issues. Finally, the applicants will prepare a variety of news releases and layperson summaries for dissemination to appropriate organizations and publications to facilitate the transfer of knowledge to end users.

Date Last Reviewed: