What is AAC?
AAC = Augmentative & Alternative Communication.
It is a set of tools and strategies that an individual uses to communicate.
Communication can take many forms such as:
- A shared glance
- Facial expressions
- Sign language
- Speech-generating devices
Everyone uses multiple forms of communication, based upon the context and our communication partner. Effective communication occurs when the intent and meaning of one individual is understood by another person. The form is less important than the successful understanding of the message.
Communication takes many forms, and people communicate in multiple ways. Everyone uses AAC. However, when an individual has complex communication needs and the use of speech is limited in a range of settings, it is useful to utilize a well thought-out system, customized for the individual’s needs and environments.
Limitations in the use of speech may be due to many causes, such as:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Developmental language delays
- Traumatic brain injury
- Progressive neurological disorders, such as ALS
- Certain genetic disorders
- Ataxia, dyspraxia
- Multiple challenges
- Temporary medical conditions such as a tracheotomy
- Young children who are at risk for communication disorders
Research and clinical experience show that the use of AAC with children does not block the development of speech. Quite the contrary, the use of alternative or augmentative communication often facilitates the development of speech for children who will be able to develop speech. AAC is now used successfully with very young children who are at risk.