Augmentative and Alternative Communication- What is it?

Oct 28, 2022

AAC What is it? Let’s Learn About It

 

What is AAC? AAC is an acronym for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. AAC is an approach to communication that is used in addition to or as an alternative to speech.

AAC can be used by people of all ages, including young children, adolescents, and adults.

AAC can be used in various settings, such as at home, in the community, or in school. AAC can be used to communicate needs, wants, thoughts, and feelings. AAC can also be used to engage in social interaction and academic and employment tasks.

 

AAC can be used with or without speech. When used with speech, AAC can help increase the amount and variety of communication. AAC can also be used to communicate when speech is not possible or not preferred.

AAC can be used in various ways, including sign language, gestures, body language, pictures, symbols, and electronic communication devices ( sometimes referred to as Speech Generated Devices).

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) refers to the use of any communication device or system that can be the only way a person communicates, or it can be one part of their multimodal approach to communication.  

  • Some potential benefits of AAC include the following:
  • improved communication, 
  • increased confidence and self-esteem, 
  • improved social skills, 
  • increased opportunities for education and employment. 

 

AAC can also help reduce behavior problems and improve the quality of life for individuals using AAC and their caregivers.

 

With benefits like that, why would anyone delay getting started with AAC?

 

There are many myths and misconceptions about AAC (augmentative and alternative communication). Unfortunately, these myths may make therapists or families hesitant to start AAC.

 

What are some of the myths out there about AAC?

 

Myth 1: AAC will prevent your child from talking.

 

Fact: AAC can actually help your child learn to talk. In addition, children who use AAC typically have better speech outcomes than those who do not use AAC.

 

Myth 2: AAC is only for nonspeaking individuals.

 

Fact: AAC can be used by anyone who struggles to communicate, whether they are nonspeaking or have difficulty speaking. AAC can be a valuable tool for children and adults who have difficulty communicating.

 

Myth 3: Another AAC myth is that you must be able to isolate your finger to use AAC, but this is not true.

Fact: You can access AAC using a switch or even eye gaze to navigate the AAC device.

 

Myth 4: AAC can’t be started until the child is older. 

 

Fact: There are no age limits for AAC. Starting at a younger age can actually have many benefits for the child.

 

AAC is a communication system that people of all ages and abilities can use. It can supplement or replace speech and is a great way to communicate your needs so your child can feel confident when communicating, improve their social skills, and increase their opportunities for education and employment.

 So if you’re interested in AAC, don’t let myths stop you from giving it a try.

Remember, all communication is valid! Spoken communication is not superior; it’s just one way to communicate.

 

Learn more about AAC and IEPs in my Assistive Technology and the IEP Course. Don’t let another school year pass you by. 

 

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