What is AAC?
AAC stands for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. It includes a range of systems, devices, strategies and tools that replace or support verbal speech.
The first A in AAC stands for “Augmentative” which means to add to or supplement something. In communication, this is when you add something to your speech to make your message clearer, such as a gesture or facial expression.
The second A is for “Alternative” meaning options that can replace verbal speech as a method of communicating for those who are not able to speak or are not easily understood. These include speech generating devices, PODD books and so on.
Augmentative and alternative strategies can go hand in hand to support overall communication and may encourage verbal speech. Communication strategies, such as using signing to supplement verbal speech, can be both augmentative and alternative.
Who uses AAC?
There is no one type of child who can use and potentially benefit from AAC. Many children who experience challenges with verbal speech and communication can be supported to express their thoughts, wants and needs through AAC. Children with disabilities, such as physical disability, developmental disability and acquired disorders such as brain injuries, may use a range of different AAC.
Types of AAC
There are different types of AAC and your child’s Speech Pathologist will work with you and your child to find the best methods to suit your child’s needs. The different methods of AAC are usually broken down into two categories, they are unaided and aided.
Unaided AAC doesn’t require the use of a physical aid or tool. So your child uses whatever is available to them which is generally their own body. Unaided AAC includes:
Aided AAC uses tools, devices or materials and is further divided into two types. They are low-tech and high-tech.
Benefits of AAC
There are so many benefits that we see in children who are supported to communicate through AAC. These can include:
Your child’s AAC journey
Every child’s journey with AAC will be different. At Xavier, our Speech Pathologists are here to support your child at every step. For further information on how we’re supporting children through AAC or to understand how AAC can help your child, give our team a call on 1800 XAVIER, visit our Speech Therapy page or email email@example.com