There are many ways in which speech therapists can encourage communication and it doesn’t always have to be verbally. In this blog we introduce the concept of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and dispel some the common myths we have come across.
What is AAC?
AAC stands for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. It refers to different modes of
communication apart from talking. Augmentative means to supplement verbal communication.
Alternative means to replace verbal communication.
Why use AAC?
In our daily lives, we communicate for a variety of purposes such as to request, reject, voice out
opinions and share ideas. Individuals with complex communication needs, have the same need to communicate for the same varied purposes as their speaking peers. AAC helps individuals who have difficulty understanding verbal communication and difficulty expressing verbally to communicate with others effectively and independently. In other words, AAC facilitates communication and helps to reduce communication breakdowns. Often, repeated unsuccessful attempts in communication can lead to frustration and dampen the desire to communicate with others.
Augmentative and alternative communication examples
Myths about AAC
AAC is suitable for any child whose speech is not effective to meet his/her communication
Research shows that speech production increased in children who had access to AAC
(Harding, Lindsay, O’Brien, Dipper,Wright, 2011; Millar, Light & Schlosser, 2006).
Research shows that AAC helps people of all ages. There are no prerequisites or milestones
that one must reach before AAC can be implemented
(Cynthia & Christine, 2003; Romski & Sevcik,
The use of AAC should not be based on failure to develop speech skills. AAC can be used in
early communication development as a tool that aids early language development
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