Augmentative and alternative communication for children with autism spectrum disorder: An evidence-based evaluation of the Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) programme (short summary)


The Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) approach to teaching language using a voice output communication aid (VOCA) was used over a five week period with eight children, aged between 4 and 12, who had ASD. Parents and teachers were also trained to use the LAMP approach. The study aimed to test whether augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems can improve the functional communication of children with ASD in their daily lives.

The researchers used the LAMP approach in addressing 4 aims:

  • To evaluate the level of improvement of functional use of words in children with ASD in their natural environments.
  • To identify whether this functional communication could be used consistently, spontaneously and independently.
  • To look into the confidence of parents and teachers in using the LAMP programme.
  • To consider long term use and generalisation of the LAMP programme two years after the initial study.

The study found that all eight participating children improved their use of functional core words and, at the post-programme assessment all were communicating independently and were not restricted only to words that had been taught.

In addition to improvements in expressive communication other positive outcomes were reported. These included increases in joint attention, interest, motivation and engagement with other people, plus an overall willingness to communicate. Increases in play and social communication were also reported as were improvements in behaviour and reductions in frustration.

At the two year post intervention follow up five of the families were still using the device in a variety of settings, two of the families had found they could not use it in everyday life. The main concerns were about lack of technical support and lack of confidence in problem solving. Those who had continued with LAMP use reported that their children actively requested their device.

The ongoing support of a LAMP trained speech pathologist was found to have positive outcomes.


Things you may want to look into:

Speech-Generating Devices Used at Home by Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders

Facilitating requesting skills using high-tech augmentative and alternative communication devices with individuals with autism spectrum disorders: A systematic review

Comparing Acquisition, Generalization, Maintenance, and Preference Across Three AAC Options in Four Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

AAC Interventions for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders: State of the Science and Future Research Directions


Added to site July 2016