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communication notebook + autism

A communication notebook may be used for autistic people.  A communication notebook can be used in separate ways.  One, it can be a way of documenting an autistic child's medical tests, therapies, etc.  Two, it may also be a mechanism to communication between the home and school.  Third, it can also be used for the student to use as an actual communication device.  You may want one for each of these uses.  For any of these uses they should be personalized for the individual.  communication notebook + autism 

Notebook between home and school

Untangle Autism Organization has several sample pages that you can edit.


Notebook Used as a Communication device


My son had a notebook before he had an electronic communication device.  My son's teacher made it from an old day planner notebook.  It initially had three categories.  I believe they were food, activities and social categories (restroom, etc.).  She cut down three colored file folders (one for each category) and laminated them.  Then she put strips of Velcro on the pages.  After that she printed out pictures or icons from Boardmaker.  The front cover of the book was used for him to display his wants (via the pictures) and to build sentences.  At that stage, he did very little sentence building. 


Here are some great resources to give you ideas or to buy a notebook for your child, adult or student to use to communicate with others.


Talk, Learn and Communicate, Inc. has an excellent article by Vola Marriner, Ph.D. about setting up Visually Cued Instruction which gives details as well as providing pictures.


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill TEACCH Center, Recommendations For Students with High Functioning Autism, scroll down to number eight which deals with schedules and gives excellent detailed examples.


Harcourt Assessment, Inc., Fall 2005 InSight Article

Helping Children with Autism Communicate Through Visual Augmentative Communication


Different Roads to Learning has several different visual schedules and notebooks that you can purchase.

Language goals should be individualized and can include learning to use various alternative communication systems or specific communication strategies. 


Alternative communication strategies may include learning to use the Picture Exchange System (PECs), a communication notebook, sign language or an Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC) Device.  Language strategies vary greatly from basic muscle strengthening to more specialized skills.  Oral motor skills are essentially to strengthen oral muscles which is sometimes needed for autistic children.  Receptive and expressive language, verbal behavior, auditory processing, social language, visual strategies, verbal reasoning (Wh questions), sequencing, teaching literalness, generalizing, following directions, scripting, understanding and using nonverbal communication, using verbalizations to express themselves, pragmatic language, i.e. beginning and ending conversations, or topic maintenance are other skills that should be worked on with a speech therapist.  Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and discrete trials are still my favorite therapy.  My son speaks only rarely, but one day during a session he said 12 different words or phrases.  Unfortunately, we lost the therapy time with the Autism Consultant.  Quality, including timing of the trials, is very important when it comes to ABA.


Great Ideas for Teaching is a catalog for Speech- Language Pathology and Related Communication Disorders.  They have books, information and curriculums to assist with assessments, auditory processing, Autism, expressive language, oral motor therapy, receptive language, etc.  This company sells proactive materials which can help to give you ideas for communication goals!

P.O. box 444

Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480

(910) 256-4494 Phone

(910) 256-4493 Fax  e-mail


There are a few more great (and free) articles and specific communication ideas located at the TEACCH website.


Autism E-News

Autism and Communication Article

by Karen Berlin, M. Ed., and Vicky G. Spencer, Ph.D.

Therapy Site Map

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