Below are links to some of the latest and most relevant research papers in the area of AAC They reflect the many facets that mould Liberator’s involvement & contribution to the field

  1. Evaluation of the LAMP program 2013 - ASPECT Research Full report
  2. Supporting evidence for LAMP approach, it's components and relationship between motor learning & SGD's
  3. ISAAC's Position Statement on Facilitated Communication 

For further reading of relevant and purchasable articles: 

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Naguib Bedwani, M. A., Bruck, S., & Costley, D. (2015). Augmentative and alternative communication for children with autism spectrum disorder: An evidence-based evaluation of the Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) programme. Cogent Education2(1), 1045807.


Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder often have restricted verbal communication. For children who do not use functional speech, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices can be an important support. We evaluated the effectiveness of one AAC programme, the Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) using a Vantage Lite™ device as the speech output in the home and school environments. Eight children with limited communication were assessed by a speech pathologist prior to the introduction of the programme, after five weeks of training and again after a further two weeks of use of the programme, but without the supported training. The pre-/post-assessment measures revealed that all eight children made gains in the development of spontaneous communication using the device during the implementation period. Parents and teachers also reported that the gains achieved during the five-week trial were greater than those achieved in previous interventions. Two years after the completion of the study, a follow-up phone interview was completed which identified that children who received ongoing support from a LAMP-trained speech pathologist continued using the LAMP programme. As a result of this study, a specialised LAMP-specific classroom was established in one of the participating schools.

Neeley, R. A., Pulliam, M. H., Catt, M., & McDaniel, D. M. (2015). The impact of interrupted use of a speech generating device on the communication acts of a child with autism spectrum disorder: a case study. Education135(3), 371-379.


This case study examined the initial and renewed impact of speech generating devices on the expressive communication behaviours of a child with autism spectrum disorder. The study spanned six years of interrupted use of two speech generating devices. The child's communication behaviours were analysed from video recordings and included communication acts per obligatory context per minute, the percent of total recorded communication acts, the number of different words verbalized synthetically by the SGD and naturally by the child, and the different types of words verbalized synthetically and naturally. Two similar speech generating devices were used in this study. Results indicated that therapeutic use of the speech generating devices improved the child's ability to expressively communicate by increasing his natural verbalization of words in obligatory context more than therapy utilizing pictures and gestures.

Language Systems

Mathisen, B., Arthur-Kelly, M., Kidd, J., & Nissen, C. (2009). Using MINSPEAK: A case study of a preschool child with complex communication needs. Disability and Rehabilitation: assistive technology4(5), 376-383.


Young children with complex communication needs require the best possible start to their educational lives, and for some, this will involve the use of communication technology supports and collaborative teams. This case study describes the outcomes of a pilot investigation that utilised MINSPEAK as a means of enhancing emergent language and literacy skills in a young girl with a range of participatory challenges. Results indicated that when family members and educational teams work together, it is possible to achieve important progress in early language skills using relevant software, systematic teaching and an accessible speech generating device (SGD). The implications of this modest case study are discussed in terms of innovative practice amongst collaborative alternative and augmentative communication teams.

Core Vocabulary

Snodgrass, M. R., Stoner, J. B., & Angell, M. E. (2013). Teaching conceptually referenced core vocabulary for initial augmentative and alternative communication. Augmentative and Alternative Communication29(4), 322-333.


Individuals with significant intellectual disabilities who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) often fail to acquire large vocabularies. To maximize the functionality of a small vocabulary, AAC users’  initial vocabulary typically consists of words that can be used frequently across contexts and functions (i.e., core vocabulary). For many AAC users, core vocabulary often references concepts rather than concrete items. For individuals with severe intellectual disabilities, however, initial AAC vocabulary often consists of concretely referenced words instead. There is little evidence that these individuals can learn to use conceptually referenced words in initial AAC. A variation of a single subject multiple baseline design across four stimuli was used to demonstrate that an individual with severe intellectual disabilities could learn to use conceptually referenced words as an initial AAC vocabulary. As a result of the intervention (a modified PECS procedure), a 9-year-old boy with multiple disabilities, including intellectual disability and deaf-blindness, learned to make appropriate use of three conceptually referenced tactile symbols for the concepts of more, done, and new as an initial communication vocabulary. 

Augmentative & Alternative Communication

Kasari, C., Kaiser, A., Goods, K., Nietfeld, J., Mathy, P., Landa, R., & Almirall, D. (2014). Communication interventions for minimally verbal children with autism: A sequential multiple assignment randomized trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry53(6), 635-646.



This study tested the effect of beginning treatment with a speech-generating device in the context of a blended, adaptive treatment design for improving spontaneous, communicative utterances in school aged, minimally verbal children with autism.


Sixty-one minimally verbal children with autism, aged 5 to 8 years, were randomized to a blended developmental/behavioural intervention (JASP+EMT) with or without the augmentation of a speech generating device (SGD) for 6 months with a 3-month follow-up. The intervention consisted of two stages. In Stage 1 all children received two sessions per week for 3 months. Stage 2 intervention was adapted (increased sessions or adding the SGD) based on the child’s early response. The primary outcome was the total number of spontaneous communicative utterances; secondary measures were total number of novel words and total comments from a natural language sample.


Primary aim results found improvements in spontaneous communicative utterances, novel words, and comments that all favoured the blended behavioural intervention that began by including an SGD (JASP+EMT+SGD) as opposed to spoken words alone (JASP+EMT). Secondary aim results suggest that the adaptive intervention beginning with JASP+EMT+SGD and intensifying JASP+EMT+SGD for children who were slow responders led to better post-treatment outcomes.


Minimally verbal school-aged children can make significant and rapid gains in spoken spontaneous language with a novel, blended intervention that focuses on joint engagement and play skills and incorporates an SGD. Future studies should further explore the tailoring design used in this study to better understand children’s response to treatment.

Drager, K., Light, J., & McNaughton, D. (2010). Effects of AAC interventions on communication and language for young children with complex communication needs. Journal of pediatric rehabilitation medicine3(4), 303-310.


Children with complex communication needs (CCN) who require augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) are at considerable risk in many aspects of their development: (a) functional communication skills, (b) speech development, (c) language development, (d) cognitive/conceptual development, (e) literacy development, (f) social participation, (g) access to education, and (h) overall quality of life. Early intervention is critical to address these areas and provide successful and functional outcomes. AAC offers the potential to enhance communication, language, and learning for children with significant communication disabilities. This paper provides an overview of the effects of AAC interventions on communication, behavior, language, and speech outcomes for young children with CCN for pediatricians and other medical and rehabilitation professionals. Future research directions to maximize the communication development of young children with CCN are also discussed.


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