Anna Dubiak, M.S., CCC-SLP
Duncan Lake Speech Therapy, LLC
What is AAC?
AAC stands for augmentative and alternative communication.
Ok… but what does that mean?
There are all types of AAC ranging from use of low tech such as printed pictures with wants and needs, to robust high tech systems such as an iPad application pre-loaded with thousands of words and phrases to create endless combinations and personalizations. These different approaches are based on the individual needs of a person with a communication disorder and what fits best with their skills and their life.
A can be child is too young for AAC…
The sooner the better! The earlier you start with AAC the more a kid can grow with it and learn to communicate more effectively. If a kid can click through youtube on an iPad at 2 then why can’t they use one to communicate with others?
My child will never use words if they have AAC…
We all use many different methods to communicate. Think about it! We text, we use gestures, we use words, sometimes just a look can say a lot! Just because we can speak does not mean that is the only way we are able to communicate. For instance if someone is standing in the same room as us we probably would not text them instead of using words, this would seem inconvenient in most situations. AAC is the same, actually sometimes this takes the pressure off of just using words and can therefore can inspire words. Some people use AAC throughout their lives even if they can communicate effectively with words, for instance in times of high anxiety as a backup. It really can be a useful tool no matter who you are and what other methods you use to communicate!
High tech is better than low tech…
Whatever works best for the individual is best! Yes we want a robust communication system but ultimately we want people to use their AAC to communicate, if they do this more effectively with a low tech option than that is what is best for them.
Using a device in sessions/at school is enough…
You would not only talk at work just like a child would not only talk at school or in a speech session. The more we generalize our use of AAC the more functional a person’s communication becomes.
AAC is only for requesting items…
AAC can be used for so much more than making needs met! While this is an important function, especially when we are getting started there is so much more to communicate. AAC can help us comment on the world around us. Some people even have jokes loaded into their AAC as ice breakers. AAC can help us bring out our personalities. The sky’s the limit!