Augmentative and alternative communication in children with Down's syndrome: a systematic review

BMC Pediatr. 2018 May 11;18(1):160. doi: 10.1186/s12887-018-1144-5.


Background: The use of technology to assist in the communication, socialization, language, and motor skills of children with Down's syndrome (DS) is required. The aim of this study was to analyse research findings regarding the different instruments of 'augmentative and alternative communication' used in children with Down's syndrome.

Methods: This is a systematic review of published articles available on PubMed, Web of Science, PsycInfo, and BVS using the following descriptors: assistive technology AND syndrome, assistive technology AND down syndrome, down syndrome AND augmentative and alternative communication. Studies published in English were selected if they met the following inclusion criteria: (1) study of children with a diagnosis of DS, and (2) assistive technology and/or augmentative and alternative communication analysis in this population.

Results: A total of 1087 articles were identified. Thirteen articles met the inclusion criteria. The instruments most used by the studies were speech-generating devices (SGDs) and the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS).

Conclusion: Twelve instruments that provided significant aid to the process of communication and socialization of children with DS were identified. These instruments increase the interaction between individuals among this population and their peers, contributing to their quality of life and self-esteem.

Keywords: Assistive technology; Augmentative and alternative communication; Children; Down’s syndrome.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Language
  • Communication Aids for Disabled*
  • Down Syndrome / psychology
  • Down Syndrome / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Motor Skills
  • Social Skills