We’re taking a break from all things apples and pumpkins to recognize AAC Awareness Month!

What is AAC?: Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) helps aid in communication. AAC is a multimodal approach that incorporates a wide range of verbal and nonverbal communication methods such as vocalizations, gestures, sign language, picture boards, mobile apps, and speech generating devices (SGDs).

Who uses AAC?: AAC can be used by a variety of individuals. Some users may require an AAC system due to a congenital condition while others may benefit from AAC due to an acquired condition that results in a loss of communication. Some people may only need AAC for a short period of time while others may benefit from using AAC throughout their lives. Recent estimates show that over 2 million people around the world use AAC.

AAC Facts and Myths:

AAC is a last resort in speech and language interventionResearch shows that AAC can help play a role in early communication development even if the individual has speech skills.
AAC hinders or stops further speech developmentResearch shows that AAC may enhance the development of spoken communication and should be used along with verbal speech when applicable.
There are cognitive prerequisites to using AACThere are no skills that an individual must have before using AAC. Individuals who have intellectual disabilities have successfully used AAC systems.
A child must have some quality of motor skills to use AACThere are a variety of AAC systems that can be used to accommodate anyone, even those with limited physical abilities
AAC is only helpful to young childrenIt’s never too late to introduce AAC. Individuals of all ages have successfully learned to use AAC and improved their quality of life

What can you do if you think your child might benefit from AAC?

  • Talk to your child’s pediatrician and/or speech-language pathologist (if applicable)
  • Schedule an AAC evaluation to help determine the best fit for your child
  • Work with a speech-language pathologist on implementing your child’s device
  • Work with everyone on your child’s team (family members, caretakers, teachers, therapists) to help them become familiar with the child’s AAC system and incorporate it into everyday routines
  • Model using AAC around your child
  • Be sure to have the device present and accessible at all times

Additional resources:

ASHA: https://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/aac/

AAC Institute: https://aacinstitute.org/

International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication: https://www.isaac-online.org/english/home/

PRC: https://www.prentrom.com/

AAC Language Lab: https://aaclanguagelab.com/

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