Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology

Research Sponsor

Kelly Wade

First Reader

Jamie Harding

Second Reader

Jennifer Visker


Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have a difficult time communicating on a daily basis. To help enhance and sometimes substitute speech altogether, they require Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices. A review of literature found that school-age children with ASD utilize multiple modes of communication. The observation conducted looked at six school-age children, grades 6-8, with ASD and their use of multimodal communication. Each child was observed throughout their school day in settings such as the classroom, lunch/recess, and the speech therapy room. Data was collected for the number of times a child was given the opportunity to use a particular mode of communication within ten minutes, how many times they actually used the particular mode within the ten minutes, who the communication partner was in the exchange, and what pragmatic function the exchange served. The limits of the observation included a small sample size, convenience sampling, and difficulty generalizing data because the observed participants were only observed during school and not in natural environments, such as home and in the community. The most prominent finding revealed that different communicative situations called for different modes of communication that were most functional for the student. Recommendations for future research were provided.