The rationale for computer-based treatment of language difficulties in nonspeaking autistic children

  • Kenneth Mark Colby


Some principles are described which underlie a computer-based treatment method for language difficulties in nonspeaking autistic children. These children are assumed to be dissymbolic with a primary difficulty in processing any type of symbols, language being the most important symbolic system used in human communication. The main treatment principle involved the encouragement of exploratory play with a keyboard-controlled audio-visual display on which symbols can be made to appear accompanied by human-voice and other sounds. Adult interference is minimized so a child can self-select and self-direct his own play. It is reported that, thus far, 13 out of 17 nonspeaking autistic children have shown linguistic improvement. The 4 cases of failure to improve were children who refused to play with the display device.


Treatment Method Autistic Child Main Treatment Human Communication Display Device 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© V. H. Winston & Sons, Inc. 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth Mark Colby
    • 1
  1. 1.Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Computer Science DepartmentStanford UniversityStanford

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