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Visual supports for children with ASD (McTee et al., 2019)

journal contribution
posted on 2019-11-05, 23:23 authored by Haley M. McTee, Deborah Mood, Tammy Fredrickson, Amy Thrasher, Angela Yarnell Bonino
Purpose: One in 59 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Due to overlapping symptoms between hearing loss and ASD, children who are suspected of having ASD require an audiological evaluation to determine their hearing status for the purpose of differential diagnosis. The purpose of this article is twofold: (a) to increase audiologists’ knowledge of ASD by discussing the challenges associated with testing and interpreting clinical data for children with ASD or suspected ASD and (b) to provide visual supports that can be used to facilitate audiological assessment.
Method: Eight children (ages 4–12 years) were recruited as video model participants. Videos were filmed using scripts that used concise and concrete language while portraying common clinical procedures. Using the video models, corresponding visual schedules were also created.
Conclusion: Although obtaining reliable hearing data from children with ASD is challenging, incorporating visual supports may facilitate testing. Video models and visual schedules have been created and made freely available for download online under a Creative Commons License (Creative Commons–Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License). Incorporating visual supports during clinical testing has the potential to reduce the child’s and family’s stress, as well as to increase the probability of obtaining a reliable and comprehensive audiological evaluation. Future research is warranted to determine the effectiveness and feasibility of implementing these tools in audiology clinics.

Supplemental Material S1. Example script used by the audiologist for video models that demonstrate conditioned play audiometry.

Supplemental Material S2. Example script used by the audiologist for video models that demonstrate standard audiometry.

Supplemental Material S3. Example of a visual schedule (Video Model 1).

McTee, H. M., Mood, D., Fredrickson, T., Thraser, A., & Bonino, A. Y. (2019). Using visual supports to facilitate audiological testing for children with autism spectrum disorder. American Journal of Audiology. Advance online publication.


This work was supported by the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Audiology Supplement under Award T73MC11044 (awarded to PI: Sandra Friedman) from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Payment for video model participants was made possible through a Graduate Student Fellowship from the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder (awarded to Haley McTee).