Considerations for psychologists and counsellors who are seeing people with ASD, language challenges, or use AAC

Gabrielle Hogg is an autistic advocate and AAC user based in New Zealand. She blogs and writes on her blog Autismo Girl, Facebook Page, and on Twitter.

A few years ago we developed a one page handout to help psychologists, counsellors, and other clinicians support autistic people and those who use AAC part or full time.


There are many standard practices that work well for neurotypical people that can be challenging for autistic people, people with language disorders, or those with other communication impairments. For example, many people I support find open ended questions incredibly stressful because they don't know what is expected of them, how much or little detail is being asked for, or where/how to start. 

Self Advocacy – communicating sexual history to medical professionals

I am a huge believer in nothing about us without us.   I want more stories of empowered people with communication impairments getting on with their every day realities – and being heard!  Privacy is paramount though and most of the stories that I am privy to cannot be shared publicly.

Recently an adult who uses AAC asked me to share a success story anonymously on her behalf.  This is her story not mine.

She was experiencing extreme pain and suspected a flare up of endometriosis.   She has had many previous experiences of not being listened to and suspected that she would find communicating with the emergency department to be challenging. 

She found some symbols that related to what was going on (you can check them out over at the Central MN Sexual Assault Center’s website - https://cmsac.org/communication-tools/ ) and