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Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

What is Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)? Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) refers to a set of tools and strategies that support individuals with communication difficulties to express themselves. AAC can be used as a supplement to existing speech or as a primary means of communication for individuals who are nonverbal or have limited speech.

Types of AAC:

  • Unaided AAC: Communication methods that do not require external tools, such as gestures, facial expressions, and sign language.

  • Aided AAC: Communication methods that involve external tools, such as communication boards, picture symbols, speech-generating devices (SGDs), and text-to-speech software.


Who Can Benefit from AAC? AAC can benefit individuals with a wide range of communication disorders.

How AAC Works: AAC systems are personalized to meet the individual's unique needs and abilities. They can range from simple, low-tech systems (e.g., picture boards) to high-tech systems (e.g., electronic devices with synthesized speech). AAC users are taught how to use their chosen system to communicate their needs, thoughts, and feelings effectively.

Benefits of AAC:

  • Provides a means of communication for individuals who are nonverbal or have limited speech.

  • Enhances social interactions and relationships.

  • Supports language development and literacy skills.

  • Promotes independence and self-expression.

  • Reduces frustration and challenging behaviors associated with communication difficulties.


Support for Families: Families play a crucial role in supporting individuals who use AAC. It's important for families to learn how to use and support the AAC system, encourage its use in various environments, and advocate for the individual's communication needs.

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