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Beyond the borders of speech: Music and touch at the core of social interaction

October 29 @ 11:00 pmOctober 30 @ 12:00 am EDT


1. Explain the fundamental importance of embodied interaction in all social communication

2. Explore a variety of ways in which social interaction can be fostered through forefronting diverse modalities

3. Innovate on collaborative activities that include the participation of diverse social communicators.


October 29 @ 11:00 pm EDT
October 30 @ 12:00 am EDT
Event Category:



Online (Zoom)



Non-speaking autistic individuals, characterised as having a “deficit in social communication” and limited in their speaking ability, are often perceived to be absorbed in a world of their own.

With the dominance of oral-acoustic speech, traditional AAC intervention has focused on augmenting the AAC user with a referential language system, geared towards speech generation.

This talk argues that an overwhelming focus on speech misses out on the existence of autistic sociality, embedded in their sensory practices. As an attempt to move beyond speech and towards the bodily foundations of human connection, a novel interactive environment mapping interpersonal touch to music was brought into the homes of 10 non-speaking autistic individuals. Through collaborative improvisation, bringing parents into their sensory practices, autistic children cultivate novel communicative avenues with others. This talk details the desire of autistic children for human connection, and an imagined future where communicative diversity is celebrated by everyone.