Ability to communicate is the key to social participation. Speech impairment can be source of behavioral issues and social exclusion among autistic children. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is a form of communication that enhances or replaces speech. It helps those with serious speech impairments, like non-verbal autistic children develop language skills, decrease frustration and finally and most importantly, increase socialisation and participation.
In mid 2014, Insight introduced AAC tool based on mobile devices, to Sherin Mary Zacharia,, the 12-year-old autistic child from Kochi. Improvement in her quality of life is a testimony to the positive changes that AAC can bring in the life a cognitively-challenged person. Affected by Pervasive development disorder not otherwise specified (PDDNOS), a developmental disorder on the autism spectrum, Sherin hardly speaks three sentences a day. She started writing at an early age of four and later was introduced to communication boards with minimal options like food, water, toilet etc. Then she started picking up writing in limited way. In case of emergency she writes with her fingers on her mothers hand. But all these provided only limited scope to express herself.