What is Augmentative and Alternative Communication (Also Known as AAC)?
A method other than speech that is used for communication. AAC can be High Tech; such as an iPad, tablet, or computer with special language software, or low tech; communication books and boards, and no tech; sign language, gestures, or facial expressions.
Who Uses AAC to Communicate?
Individuals who are unable to speak, have some verbal approximations, or a few words. AAC can be used to replace missing speech or to supplement limited speech. Individuals with Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Developmental Delay, Angelman’s Syndrome, CHARGE Syndrome, Down Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury (and this is to name only a few) may benefit from the implementation of AAC.
Online AAC Resources
PrAACtical AAC supports a community of professionals and families who are determined to improve the communication and literacy abilities of people with significant communication difficulties.
The classroom offers a large collection of learning resources, which are designed to support the implementation of any communication device that is based on core words.
Project Core has developed 12 free professional development modules to assist you with implementing the Universal Core in your school and classroom.
AAC Institute is a not-for-profit, charitable organization dedicated to the most effective communication for people who rely on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).
Common AAC Terms
Any communication system that has the ability to store and retrieve a message and has voice output capabilities.
Any communication system that doesn’t have voice output capabilities. This method typically involves pictures.
High-frequency words an individual often uses that can be used in a variety of settings and situations.
Any person that an AAC user listens to or speaks to in a given moment.
When newly learned skills are demonstrated across different situations (e.g., at home, school, and in the community).
Modeling/Aided Language Stimulation:
When a communication partner uses the AAC system to communicate.
The level of assistance needed for a student to engage with their communication system. Emphasizing a least-to-most approach.
Individualizing a communication device, editing settings, or adding/removing vocabulary.
How an AAC user uses their device. This can be with their finger, eye-gaze, or scanning with a switch.
Speech Generating Device:
A communication system that produces words and can be obtained through your insurance.
AAC Myths vs. Reality
Using AAC will stop one from talking
Using AAC means we have given up on speech
AAC will become a crutch, and they no longer will try to speak
The individual is too young for AAC
Presence of AAC can reduce physical demands and pressure to speak
Demonstrate an improvement in conversation and longer messages
Provides a consistent speech model
Enhances one's ability to communicate efficiently and independently
AAC Has Many Forms!
Gestures & Pointing
Pictures & Communication Books
Dedicated Communication Devices