AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) in the form of communication apps are used to help non-speaking individuals, and individuals with difficulties communicating verbally to communicate successfully. There is a strong evidence base that indicates AAC devices offer support in helping non-speaking autistic individuals overcome their unique communication barriers.
AAC devices and communication apps provide an active means of communication. The process of learning the meaning of one word, increasing their single-word vocabulary, and then combining the words together to make phrases and sentences helps individuals with autism reach the goal of independent, spontaneous communication. The auditory output of AAC devices provides sensory feedback to help the individual develop their receptive and expressive language skills.
LAMP Words For Life
‘LAMP Words for Life’ is a communication app which has thousands of words to support robust communication. It allows the individual to put words together to say whatever they want to say, use verb and adjective forms, add word endings, and use language in the same way as verbal speakers. The’ LAMP Words for Life’ app is unique in that it was designed specifically to support the Language Acquisition through Motor Planning approach.
Having a robust communication system allows for words to be learnt in the way they will always be said on the device. It provides a pathway for growth with no change and relearning along the way. The app contains features that aid learning, whilst maintaining consistency.
What is the Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) approach?
Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) is a therapeutic approach based on neurological and motor learning principles. The goal is to give individuals who are non-speaking, or who have limited verbal abilities, a method of independently and spontaneously expressing themselves in any setting.
LAMP was developed out of the clinical practices of John Halloran (MS, CCC-SLP), Cindy Halloran (OTR/L) and Mia Emerson (MS, CCC-SLP). In their interactions with non-speaking Autistic individuals, they found the following:
- Giving individuals access to core words on a speech-generating device
- Teaching those words in sensory-rich activities
- Accessing each word on the device with a consistent, unique motor plan with auditory feedback provided a means for developing independent communication.
What makes LAMP effective?
Language and social interaction may be affected by impairments in motor skills and auditory and sensory processing. The LAMP approach uses perceived strengths associated with Autism – such as visual learning and the desire for structure, but it also addresses core difficulties affecting language delay to improve spontaneous, generative communication. This works through:
- Imitating the neurological processes associated with typical speech development
- Pairing a consistent motor movement with consistent auditory feedback and a natural response while using a speech-generating device
Ongoing research has shown the following improvements when LAMP strategies are used:
- Increased spontaneous communication across environments
- Use of unique combinations of words
- Increase in mean length of utterance
- Enhanced receptive vocabulary
- Use of various communicative functions
- Increased natural vocalisations
What can it do to help our young people achieve?
‘LAMP Words for Life’, and any of the other communication apps used by individuals at Bright Futures, provide a robust means to communicate independently and spontaneously. It increases language understanding and the ability to express themselves. Essentially, AAC gives people a voice to communicate about the things that are important to them. With this, they can express their hopes, wants and needs and ultimately support them to work towards achieving their dreams.
It is important that individuals are assessed by a HCPC Registered Speech and Language Therapist to ensure the app, device and vocabulary are the most appropriate to the individual.