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Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) helps millions worldwide who cannot rely on their natural speech to communicate.

Children and adults with severe speech or language problems may need to find other ways to communicate besides talking. There are many types of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) they can use. Speech and language pathologists, or SLPs, can help and indicate the correct way of use of AAC. 

Also, AAC can be used not only in severe situations where speech and/or language are absent, but in cases where speech is not used correctly and is unintelligible. This happens mostly in the early age. AAC helps and stimulates children’s communication and then stimulates their speech as well. The pictures and the sound stimuli they receive and hear through technology devices help them to structure words, sentences, etc.

Other individuals may use speech in low-demand contexts but choose to use AAC to augment their communication in high-demand contexts.

When should AAC be used?

People of all ages can use AAC if they have trouble with speech or language skills. Augmentative means to add to someone’s speech. Alternative means to be used instead of speech. Some people use AAC throughout their life or learn how to use it when they are small, speech increases, develops and throughout their life AAC it’s not useful anymore. It is just a tool that promotes communication.

What exactly includes AAC?

AAC incorporates the individual’s full communication abilities and may include any existing speech or vocalizations, gestures, manual signs, pictures, and aided communication.

Who is responsible for teaching people how to use AAC?

Speech and Language Therapists are the main professionals who teach people how to use AAC. Other professionals and experts that know how to use AAC are also indicated.

Who benefits from AAC?

Children and adults with speech and intellectual disabilities – non-verbal, partially verbal and single word communicators. Children and adults with ASD, Cerebral Palsy, Down’s Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, PDD-NOS, Aphasia, Apraxia or any other condition that affects speech and language skills.

In case you think AAC is something that could benefit your child, get in contact! AAC is personalized and always helps the children, their caregivers and family members!

 

Sofía Zelou