By Gabby Moloney, Speech Pathologist at Youthrive
What is Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC)?
AAC stands for “Augmentative Alternative Communication” (AAC) and refers to communication devices or systems that support individuals with communication difficulties.
AAC supports individuals with communication difficulties by:
- Allowing individuals to better express themselves (e.g. wants, needs, feelings etc.)
- Providing visual cues to assist with process formulation and response time;
- Increasing an individual’s ability to engage and connect with others, including by enabling individuals to initiate conversations.
Speech pathologists will partner with a client’s support network to identify and teach the most appropriate form of AAC.
What are the types of AAC?
There are two types of AAC – “Unaided” and “Aided”:
Examples of “Unaided” AAC include:
- Body language
- Sign language
- Facial expressions
Examples of “Aided” AAC include:
- Low Technology Systems (e.g. choice boards, communication books, visual schedules, Picture Exchange System and PODD books)
- High Technology Systems (e.g. speech generating devices and AAC apps)
Debunking some common myths about AAC
AAC will not stop a person from talking.
- A child is never too young and an adult is never too old for AAC.
- Behaviors don’t need to be under control before commencing AAC.
- AAC doesn’t solve all communication challenges – it is a supporting tool only.