There are children with autism who may be considered nonverbal, that is, children who use very few spoken words on a daily basis or for whom spoken language is not their primary means of communication. Some children are young and have not yet developed spoken language skills. These young children would be considered preverbal. Other children or older individuals, who are above the age of 5 years, who have not developed functional spoken language skills can be considered nonverbal. Development of the ability to use nonprompted (i.e., spontaneous) spoken language in a flexible manner (i.e., across many contexts) prior to age 6 is known to predict positive long-term outcomes for individuals with autism; this ability is sometimes termed “useful speech.” Thus, individuals with autism who fail to develop useful speech during the preschool years may require other approaches to allow them to achieve the ability to communicate functionally by other means. Communication systems...
References and Readings
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