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Keywords:

  • joint attention;
  • augmentative and alternative communication;
  • developmental disabilities;
  • social communication

Abstract

When characterizing the social communication skills of children with developmental and physical disabilities, researchers may need to account for special considerations, particularly if the children have severe communication disabilities. These children may require means other than spoken language to communicate their needs and thoughts to others if their communication needs are unmet through natural speech production. These means or forms of communication are known as augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). This article discusses aided symbol-infused joint engagement, a form of joint attention that might be useful when characterizing the joint engagement states of children with communication difficulties who require the use of AAC. The theoretical, empirical, and clinical implications of aided symbol-infused joint engagement are discussed.