What is AAC?
AAC, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, are language supports for people with language impairments, whether temporary or permanent. You may have seen someone use a notebook to communicate, gestures, sign language, or a computer that speaks for them. These are forms of AAC.
Types of AAC….
There are two main types of AAC: Aided and Unaided Systems:
- Unaided System- uses only your body to communicate. These include gestures, sign language, and body language.
- Aided Systems- uses a tool or device. These include paper and pencil, pointing to pictures, and using a computer system or speech generating device (SGD).
Does AAC hinder my child from communicating verbally?
AAC Support offers both Augmentative and Alternative communication – not replacement for verbal communication. Some parents worry that giving an AAC system to their child will prohibit the development of verbal speech. However, research has repeatedly shown that this is not the case – in fact, the opposite is often true. “None of the 27 cases demonstrated decreases in speech production as a result of AAC intervention, 11% showed no change, and the majority (89%) demonstrated gains in speech.” (Millar, Light, Schlosser, 2006).
Here are just a few of the many examples of the benefits of use of AAC for verbal communicators:
- Visual supports for home: https://nspt4kids.com/speech-and-language/how-to-use-visual-supports-at-home-for-language-development/
- Baby Sign: https://psychcentral.com/lib/teaching-your-baby-sign-language-can-benefit-both-of-you/
- Why is the focus on clear speech instead of increased communication?: https://www.aacandautism.com/why-aac
- AAC & Autism: http://praacticalaac.org/
How do I get started?
When a person needs to find ways to communicate other than verbally, there are many types of AAC that they can use. An SLP (Speech and Language Pathologist) can help individuals and families develop strategies and find tools to support AAC. Contact the individual’s SLP or ask the school for an AAC evaluation.
At Minor Achievements, Lori Goehrig, SLP, provides AAC family support services in our center and in the home.
References : Millar, D., Light, J., & Schlosser, R. (2006). The impact of augmentative and alternative
communication intervention on the speech production of individuals with
developmental disabilities: A research review. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing
Research, 49, 248‐264.