Helping Nonspeaking Children Spell, Type, and Point to Communicate

Are you searching for strategies to help your nonspeaking child or student learn how to read and write? Are you searching for strategies to adapt curriculum to their communication style?

This is a list to help you start that journey. Consider this a working document. As I find more resources, I’ll add to it!

***Click here for information on other modes of communication such as sign language, visual schedules, and symbol-based AAC.

***Click here for books written by nonspeaking authors.

Resources

Ask Me, I’m an AAC User Facebook Group – This is a group where AAC users are the authority on AAC. Here AAC users, SLPs, support staff, doctors, parents, family, and others who are interested in AAC, can ask questions and get advice and some insight from actual AAC users!

It’s important to seek guidance from adults who have first-hand knowledge and insights about AAC programs and their strategies. This is my favorite resource for all-things-AAC.

Reach Every Voice, an organization located in Maryland, empowering individuals with complex communication needs. They provide individual communication instruction, online courses for students and parents, as well as group activities for people in the disability community.

REV’s Accessible Academics Course is a 10-week course that introduces parents and educators to concepts of how to meaningfully adapt academic instruction for students who are non-speaking or lack a reliable communication method. This course includes 10 weeks of recorded content, downloadable resources, and three live zoom sessions. 

Contact: Lisa Mihalich Quinn – lisa@reacheveryvoice.org

Autistically Inclined, offering online programs & world-wide community that supports parents and professionals in cultivating deeper connection & communication with their students.  With a focus on playfulness, natural interactions, and communication, the team at Autistically Inclined bridges the gap between what we see on the outside and what is locked inside.  Based in Southern California, serving families world-wide.  Self-paced, online learning to help you Sprout, Grow, and Flourish with your loved one.

Contact: Julie Sando – juliesando@autisticallyinclined.com

This was a fantastic workshop about presuming competence, building trust, and making the transition to 26 letters!

Autism and Communication Center at Cal Lutheran University offers educational, communication, and community inclusion resources to P-20 students with autism and the teachers, providers, caregivers, administrators, and families who support them.

Contact Edlyn Peña – autismcenter@callutheran.edu

International Association for Spelling as Communication, located in Herndon, VA.  Their mission is to advance communication access for nonspeaking individuals globally through training, education advocacy and research.

Contact – info@i-asc.org

HALO – Helping Autism through Learning and Outreach – Soma-RPM is an academic program leading towards communication, the expression of reasoning and understanding, more reliable motor skills, and greater sensory tolerance. For more information on RPM click here.  To see videos of RPM sessions click here and here.  For a TEDx talk about RPM (including demonstrations) by journalist and mother Parisa Khosravi click here

Contact – information@halo-soma.org

XMinds – Partnership for Extraordinary Minds – A collaborative partnership of parents, educators, and service providers working together to improve the educational experience and outcomes for autistic students in K-12 education in Montgomery County, MD. For their past events click here. For a panel interview on presuming competence click here.

The Jaswal Lab at the University of Virginia is committed to building a world where autistic people are valued, supported, included, and welcomed. Their mission is to conduct meaningful, useful, and interesting autism research, inspired and informed by autistic people, their families, and the community. Here is a summary of an important study the Jaswal Lab has conducted, which demonstrates that autistic individuals using a letter board are typing their own thoughts — they have “agency.”

CommunicationFIRST is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and advancing the civil rights of more than 5 million people of all ages in the United States who, due to disability or other conditions, are unable to rely on speech alone to communicate.

United for Communication Choice a grassroots effort organized by individuals with disabilities, their families, and allies to defend and protect the human, civil, and legal rights of children and adults with disabilities to choose their most effective methods of communication. Their website has videos, research, and other resources to help parents and professionals.

NeuroClastic is a nonprofit collective of neurodivergents who provide information about the autism spectrum in their own voices. See this contribution from nonspeaking students.

Inclusion and Communication Initiatives at Syracuse University, an active research, training, and support center, and the nation’s leading resource for information about communication and inclusion for individuals who type to communicate. The ICI conducts and disseminates cutting-edge research, and shares the latest from scholars at other universities and research centers.

For books written by nonspeaking authors, click here.

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