In College Park School we are interested to explore the implications of some recent research in autism and communication difficulties for policy and practice in the special needs and inclusive education field.
Our aim is to share these finding with anyone interested in autism and special needs education including parents and carers and other service providers.
College Park School is a member of the Pan London Autism Schools Network-Research PLASN-R; a collaboration of senior school leaders and university researchers who together generate ideas for the design, implementation and dissemination of research projects.
Presently, Amaal Almigal, a PhD candidate at University College of London, is conducting research to test the effectiveness of the iPad as a way of communication for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who have communication difficulties and may need to use alternative and augmentative communication (AAC), such as picture exchange or speech generation devices to learn manding. After learning to request items and needs, children typically learn to ask for information. Children with ASD may lack this ability as a result of some impairments that affect their communication. However, if these children are able to ask for items, they are likely to ask for information. Thus, in order to examine the effectiveness of iPad-based AAC in teaching students with ASD to request information, Amaal is going to train two groups of children who use AAC to ask, 'What is it'. The first group will be trained with low-tech AAC using picture and text cards, and the second group will be trained using an iPad-based AAC application. Interviews with teachers and parents will be conducted before and after the training. At the moment, Amaal is doing sessions with three children in College Park School with the support of the school's staff.