This is a great article I recently read about aided language stimulation for children with ASD. The article describes how language development in children follows a fairly predictable path. Babies make movements and sounds and adults around them respond to those sounds and movements as though the baby is "talking" to them. Adults provide language to babies every day for hours at a time, modeling for the children how their language works. Often this modeling of language occurs without conscious effort on the part of the adults. Over time, years in fact, spoken language is developed by the baby and refined to an adult form by about 9 years of age.
In contrast, children who may be diagnosed with autism around 2 years of age are still provided spoken language models, but for whatever reason many children with autism do not speak. They typically possess strong visual skills and one strategy that may support the language development children with autism is known as aided language modeling. Adults who use pictures, graphic symbols, line drawings, etc., along with spoken words have proven beneficial to children with autism.
Kathryn Drager (Aided Modeling Interventions for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders Who Require AAC, 2009) suggests that this type of language modeling supports language development in children with ASD because it is used in natural contexts and uses spoken language paired with visual symbols as input and to expand vocabulary.
Remember - PODD is a tool that allows for aided language stimulation!
Here is the link to the aricle if you would like to purchase a copy to read: sig12perspectives.pubs.asha.org