The Nature and Function of Vocalizations in Atypical Communication

  • Laura Di FerranteEmail author
  • Julie Bouchard
Hot Topic


Purpose of Review

A survey of current research including people with disorders in which speech is impaired shows that vocalizations are vastly discussed as a communication strategy, used both in isolation or paired with other aids. The principal goal of this paper is to describe the ways researchers are using the term vocalizations and the meanings and functions attributed to it. We also discuss possible future developments for specific research on unaided communication.

Recent Findings

Although research has not focused specifically on the nature and function of vocalizations, several scholars were able to highlight the crucial role of vocalizations in interactions including people with complex communication needs.


This paper has demonstrated the need for systematizing the discourse on vocalizations both in formal terms and in regard to the object of study itself. Furthermore, it has been shown that vocalizations have a powerful interactional potential, which, if investigated, could be exploited by dedicated training and technology.


Vocalizations Augmentative and alternative communication AAC users Unaided communication Complex communication needs Atypical communication 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Laura Di Ferrante and Julie Bouchard declare no conflicts of interest relevant to this manuscript.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Comunicazione e Ricerca SocialeSapienza Università di RomaRomaItaly
  2. 2.Département des arts et lettresChicoutimi, QuébecCanada

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