According to research, about 1 in 100 children have been identified with some level of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A key diagnostic criterion for the disorder is the delayed development of verbal communication.
To address the challenge of communicating with children with ASD (as well as those suffering from other communicational disabilities, such as stroke victims or those with degenerative diseases), researchers, therapists, and even parents have come up with a wide range of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) tools over the years. As it turns out, smartphones and tablets have proven to be ideal platforms for such tools, and there are dozens of relevant apps available for both iOS and Android devices.
Visual supports can also be used to communicate with people on the autism spectrum. They are adaptable, portable and can be used in most situations. They can help to provide structure and routine, encourage independence, build confidence, improve understanding, avoid frustration and anxiety, and provide opportunities to interact with others.
They can also make communication physical and consistent, rather than fleeting and inconsistent like spoken words can be and in Pilar de la Horadada the town council have recognised that fact by recently introducing Pictograms in 37 of their public buildings which they hope will improve the accessibility and usage of the buildings for people who are suffering from the condition.
The announcement was made by the Councillor for Communication and New Technologies, José David Pérez, who, along with the Councilor for Trade, Pilar María Samper, explained to the press how the initiative would help.
The objective is to provide better understanding of the environment to sufferers, to help them to better understand and to better communicate with the environment that surrounds them.
In recent weeks the council has been working with teachers in the municipality to develop these pictograms from those suggested by the Aragonese Portal of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ARASAAC).
Pilar María Samper also praised the PICTO Project launched by the Department of Communication, stating “that the municipality must be better conditioned and adapted for all of its residents.”
She also announced that the Department of Commerce is going to ask all businesses in the municipality to encourage and install similar aids in their businesses and together make Pilar de la Horadada “a 100% accessible municipality.”