What is AAC and could my child benefit from it? My child isn’t talking and we have tried boards, pictures and some ASL, but he still isn’t talking much. Do any of these questions or comments sound familiar?
AAC, or Alternative Augmentative Communication consists of gestures, icons, SGD (speech generating devices), pictures, eyegaze, headpointing, switches and more. Low or light tech communication can be pictures, switches, and ASL (American Sign Language) to name a few. There are also high tech communication devices consisting of iPads, speech generating devices with different access methods or ways to use the device to communicate whether through direct selection with fingers, eyes, or head or through indirect or scanning with switches. With all types of devices, there are no, yes, no prerequisites for a child to begin using AAC or to benefit from AAC. It can support any and all! As an SLP, or speech – language pathologist, this subject and area of the field is my absolute favorite. Every child has a voice and it’s exciting to help them find their voice. With using AAC during ongoing therapy sessions, not only can children benefit from better understanding what is being asked, but can also help them to provide visuals to better understand what they are trying to communicate. From research, we know that use of AAC does NOT delay a child from using verbal speech, but rather supports language growth overall. Either with use of the device or verbally, children continue to expand and use more language with support from an AAC device. No matter the age of your child, AAC can be used to support communication, and not as a last resort. For more information about AAC or if your child would benefit from a device, ask your ongoing speech – language pathologist!
Romski, MaryAnn, and Rose A. Sevcik. “Augmentative Communication and Early Intervention.” Infants & Young Children, vol. 18, no. 3, 2005, pp. 174–185., doi:10.1097/00001163-200507000-00002.
Danika S. – MS, CCC-SLP