What is AAC?
Communication devices, systems and tools that replace or SUPPORT natural and functional speech.
Is AAC right for my child?
AAC’s purpose is to increase total communication and to give your child all opportunities to communicate. AAC’s goal is to decrease your child’s frustrations, help your child reach language milestones despite limited verbal output, encourage social interaction, and increase participation in academic settings and the community.
Two Types of AAC:
- Unaided AAC does not require a physical aid/ tool. These include using facial expressions, body language, gestures or sign language.
- Aided AAC uses a tool or system. This includes visual aids, symbol boards or Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), Speech- Generating devices (iPads or tablets).
Your Speech Language Pathologist will work with your child and your family to determine which method of AAC is best.
MYTH #1: “AAC will keep my child from talking”.
TRUTH: AAC does NOT hinder speech but may actually increase verbal speech production! AAC has a positive impact on speech production and there are many children who have verbal speech AND use a speech generating AAC device. Increased interaction and use of AAC allows children to improve pre-language and pragmatic language skills such as joint attention, turn- taking, eye contact, commenting and requesting. AAC supports expressive language by providing an auditory speech model for children to imitate, if able.
MYTH #2: “AAC will make my child “look different” from his/her peers”.
TRUTH: Many non- AAC children will think your child’s device is SO COOL! AAC will help provide your child with the opportunity to socialize! AAC will allow your child to greet others, interact in the classroom, respond to questions or get the attention of someone in your community. Using AAC enhances functional communication and promotes independence. Your child’s voice output might be different, his/her communication intent is the same as all communicators!
MYTH #3: “My child will use only AAC and give up on natural speech”.
TRUTH: Children will use the quickest, most effective and most accessible way to functionally communicate their wants and needs. Speech beats any other AAC system if it is available and appropriate for your child.