What is  Augmentative and Alternative Communication?

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What is Augmentative and Alternative Communication?

By, Carla Aubrey, MS, CCC-SLP

AAC offers individuals in need a way other than oral speech to express thoughts, needs, wants and ideas.  Common examples include facial expressions, hand gestures, writing, symbols, and pictures. Severe communication impairments affect an estimated two million American children and adults. Underlying causes vary widely from developmental disorders to conditions such as autism and cerebral palsy.  Those affected lack speech or have difficulty with verbal expression.For people with severe communication impairments, AAC can offer a substitute for oral speech or a way to enhance limited speech. There are two basic types of AAC systems:Unaided systems such as sign language and gestures, require no tools other than the body.  Aided systems use external tools, ranging from paper and pencil to books and picture boards to speech generating devices.  These systems include electronic systems that enable users to combine picture symbols, letters, and words and phrases into messages to speak out loud. 

Severe communication impairments can significantly diminish quality of life by limiting social interaction and learning opportunities. AAC facilitates the communication fundamental to successful relationships. 

Links for more information about AAC devices:

Carla Aubrey, is a speech language pathologist In Dallas, Texas with 10 years experience working with individuals who have severe communication impairments who need or use AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) to improve communication, employing a wide range of AAC techniques from low tech or high tech solutions. www.AACTexas.com



06 January 2014 16:14
by Carla Aubrey, MS, CCC-SLP