Augmentative & Alternative Communication

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What is a Augmentative and Alternative Communication?

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is a broad term for communication methods beyond verbal speech. Individuals of any age may utilize AAC if they experience difficulties with speaking or language abilities. Augmentative refers to enhancing one’s speech, while alternative implies using a different method instead of speaking. While some individuals rely on AAC permanently, others may only use it temporarily, such as during periods of speech inability like post-surgery.

AAC can be categorized into various types, ranging from simple and minimalist options to more advanced and high-tech solutions. Low-tech options include:

  • gestures and facial expressions,
  • writing,
  • drawing,
  • spelling words by pointing to letters, and
  • pointing to photos, pictures, or written words.

Cutting-edge tech options includes:

  • Interacting through a communication app on a tablet or iPad.
  • Utilizing a computer equipped with a voice feature, commonly referred to as a speech-generating device.

Communication can take on various forms through the use of different types of AAC, as each individual may have their own unique way of expressing themselves.

 

How Miracles in Motion can Help

Speech-language pathologists specialize in assisting individuals in selecting the most suitable augmentative and alternative communication system. Additionally, they provide guidance on how to effectively use AAC to convey messages. It is crucial to identify the appropriate tool as not all options are suitable for every individual.

Speech-language pathologists collaborate with a variety of healthcare providers such as occupational therapists and physical therapists to address any physical limitations that may impact your ability to utilize your augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) system. While insurance coverage may vary for different AAC devices, your SLP will guide you through the options available to you.

Begin your child’s speech journey. Book now for a free consultation to address speech issues.

Common concerns about Augmentative & Alternative Communication

AAC is a well-researched form of communication with experts dedicating years to its study. Through this research, we have gained valuable insights into the ways in which AAC benefits individuals in their communication. Discoveries made in various areas have significantly contributed to our understanding of AAC’s effectiveness.

Age, Skills, and Timing

People often question the appropriate age for children to start using AAC. Studies have proven that AAC is beneficial for individuals of various age groups, including those as young as toddlers! Early implementation of AAC is encouraged, regardless of cognitive abilities, academic achievements, or developmental stages.

Talking and Motivation

Many individuals question whether the use of AAC impedes speech ability or hinders language progression. However, research indicates that AAC can actually alleviate these worries. Furthermore, those utilizing AAC have the capability to acquire reading and writing skills.

Movement

If an individual has difficulty moving their arms and hands, one may question how they can effectively utilize AAC. Fortunately, there exist alternative methods for operating an AAC system that do not require physical touch. Collaboration between speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and occupational or physical therapists (OTs/PTs) can help tailor the use of AAC systems to suit each individual’s needs effectively.

REMEMBER . . .

If you have any additional inquiries, we recommend consulting with Miracles in Motions for more information on AAC.

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