Augmentative & Alternative Communication
What is AAC?
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) includes ALL methods of communication other than natural speech. It is generally broken down into two major types:
1) Unaided or No Tech AAC doesn't require anything but the communicator's own body - such as gestures, facial expressions, eye gaze, body language, and manual signs.
2) Aided AAC requires an external tool which can range in level of technology:
Low Tech: Usually paper based tools - such as pencil and paper, picture icons, or communication boards.
Mid Tech: Devices that require a battery but have limited functionality - such as single message or static display voice output devices.
High Tech: Computer based voice output systems that are usually more sophisticated and robust - such as dedicated speech generating devices or mobile tablets with a communication app.
Who uses AAC?
Everyone! We all use a variety of methods to share our emotions, wants, needs, thoughts, and ideas with others. You are using AAC any time you use gestures or facial expressions to clarify or emphasize your speech - or when you use them instead of talking all together. Individuals with significant speech and/or language impairments may rely on AAC more heavily to communicate with others.
People with the following diagnoses may benefit from having more access to AAC:
- Developmental Delays
- Down Syndrome
- Motor Speech Disorders (e.g., Apraxia, Dysarthria)
- Cerebral Palsy
- Physical Impairment
- Cognitive Impairment
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Degenerative Diseases (e.g., ALS, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's)
There are many reasons an individual may need AAC to either support or replace their speech to communicate. If you believe your child or loved one may benefit from AAC, Boldly Communicating can help you identify and implement AAC systems through assessment and treatment.