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 intervention||Research 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 development||Research 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 AAC||There 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 AAC||There 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 children||It’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
AAC Institute: https://aacinstitute.org/
International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication: https://www.isaac-online.org/english/home/
AAC Language Lab: https://aaclanguagelab.com/