Augmentative and Alternative Communication(AAC) includes a wide range of systems and devices which support or replace a person’s communication. There are a range of low tech based and high tech based AAC Devices.

Low Technology AAC

There are a wide range of low tech AAC devices available including but not limited to:

  1. Signing Systems such as Makaton
  2. Communication Passports
  3. Communication Books
  4. Life books/scrapbooking
  5. Picture Communication systems including PECS and Talking Mats
  6. Objects of reference
  7. Visual Aids
  8. E-Tran frames

High Technology AAC

Hight Tech devices can include the following;

  1. Eye gaze devices
  2. Voice Output Communication Aids (VOCA)
  3. Switches (single message, multi message)
  4. Increasingly iPad’s are being used as AAC with specific software

Who uses AAC?

AAC devices are used by lots of different people. AAC users often include those who have;

  • Learning Disability
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Down Syndrome
  • Rett Syndrome
  • Autistic Spectrum Conditions
  • Rare Syndromes
  • Had a Stroke or Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Degenerative diseases including Huntingdon’s disease, Dementia, Parkinson’s disease and Motor Neurone Disease
  • Head/Neck Cancer
  • Language impairment
  • Multi sensory impairment
  • Physical disabilities

Who can implement AAC?

There are a wide range of systems and no one system suits everyone. Each individual will need to be assessed to find an AAC device or system which suits them. Some people have multiple AAC systems such as, PECS, visual support and Makaton.

Speech and Language Therapists are experts in communication and are familiar with a wide range of AAC devices, and are skilled at modifying and implementing these devices. Speech and Language Therapists will assess and recommend the most appropriate AAC system; the therapists will then work with the persona and their significant others to create a device which suits them. The therapist will train the AAC user and their family/carers on how best to use the communication aid.

High Tech AAC devices are often given on loan by AAC companies. A representative will work alongside the Speech and Language Therapist to identify the most appropriate device. High Tech devices can be expensive and it is often a slow process in order to ensure it is the right system for that AAC user.

Further information

You can find out more detailed information about AAC and the current research here.

If you would like to speak to a Speech and Language Therapist about AAC and want to book an initial assessment, please get in touch and we will offer you a free initial telephone consultation to discuss your needs.

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