Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
What is AAC?
AAC stands for augmentative and alternative communication. So, what exactly does this mean? In short, it is any type of communication that replaces or aides natural/verbal speech. Most often people think of AAC as a big fancy communication device with voice output, but it is so much more than that! We all use forms of augmentative and alternative communication everyday including gestures, body language, or facial expressions. On top of that, it can also include (but is not limited to) sign language, pictures, writing (even with simple pen and paper), pointing to letters or pictures on a picture board, or communication devices.
Here at Carolina Therapy Connection, our kiddos and their SLPs (speech-language pathologists) use a wide variety of AAC daily. This includes sign language, picture symbols and picture symbol books, and communication devices. After we evaluate your child’s speech-language skills, including comprehension of language, we can help find a system that will fit your child’s communication needs. We are very excited for some of our kiddos (and their families!) who have gone through the therapy and funding process to get their own communication devices! Here’s a look at some of our happy kiddos below!
As a speech-language pathologist, most often the first question I hear from parents is “Will using augmentative and alternative communication impact my child’s ability to produce verbal speech?” This is a very common misconception with AAC. Actually, research shows that AAC can have positive effects on speech-language development when the therapist in using it in a multimodal approach (using both alternative communication systems and working on verbal speech at the same time).
Another misconception is that a child may be too young for AAC. Again, research debunks this misconception. Instead, the research shows that early implementation of AAC can aid in the development of natural speech and language skills.
As a parent or guardian, if you are interested in seeing this research on one or both of these topics, one of our SLPs will be happy to get that information to you!
At Carolina Therapy Connection, learn more about AAC and how it can help your child from our awesome speech therapists! Please call us at (252) 341-9944 to set up an evaluation.
—Written by: Laurel Wilsen, MS, CCC-SLP, CAS