06 Oct 2020

Supporting children with disability through Speech Therapy: A spotlight on AAC

What Is AAC?


AAC is short for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. It includes all communication methods used alongside or to replace verbal speech. AAC includes aided (high-tech and low-tech) and unaided methods and often a combination of each is used.


What it the difference between aided and un-aided?


Unaided AAC uses no prompts so it includes body language, facial expressions and signing.


Aided AAC uses devices and is divided into two further categories being high-tech and low-tech. Low tech AAC uses devices that don’t need batteries so it includes PODD books and picture boards. High-tech AAC includes apps, speech generating devices and Voice Output Communication Aids (VOCAS).


Who uses AAC?


One of the most famous users of AAC was Stephen Hawking. AAC helps so many children and adults to communicate including those with motor neurone disease, cerebral palsy, acquired brain injuries, hearing impairments, multiple sclerosis and other complex disabilities.


Will AAC stop my child from speaking?


Sometimes parents can worry that if they introduce their child to AAC it will discourage them from speaking but this is not the case. In fact some studies have shown that learning AAC can encourage children to progress to verbal speech to the best of their ability.


What else should I know?


We all use forms of AAC everyday because AAC includes non-verbal communication like body language and facial expressions, waving hello and even sending an SMS. In recognising this, we normalise the use if AAC and help children to communicate via the method that works best for them. If a nod will suffice to get their point across then that’s great!


Further information  


To get further information on how Xavier Speech Therapy is supporting children with disability to improve their communication and become more independent, call us on 1800 XAVIER or visit our Speech Therapy page.