University of Kansas Researchers Receive $1.2M for Autism Study

One of the main areas of struggle for both children and adults diagnosed with autism is communication, which has led to the development of many communication devices and applications for the IPad and other tablets. For example, Proloque2Go, a top communication application, features over 14,000 symbols, an extensive vocabulary catalog, and an assortment of real human voices.

University of Kansas assistant research professor Kathy Thiemann-Bourque has been utilizing these forms of alternative and augmentative communication (AAC), and although she has had success with communication, she is apprehensive on how much these help with the communication for children with autism and their peers. The goal of the current study, which received a $1.2 million grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, Communication Intervention for Preschoolers Learning to use AAC (CI-PAAC), is to “determine whether the technology can improve autistic children’s deficits in communication, social reciprocity and play skills.” [i]

The study will take place over the course of 4 years, training 48 preschoolers with autism and 114 peers without disabilities to use an IPad voice output application. Each child in the study will have three peer partners, from the greater Kansas City area and Lawrence school districts. The end goal is to develop a step-by-step guideline for treatment for children with communication deficits, as well as parent-teacher training.

[i] “CBS News” Researchers developing communication app for children with autism. 31 Jul 2013. Web. <>

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