Alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) is a form of communication that can be used instead of speaking verbally, or in combination with speaking. It can enhance your child’s ability to communicate and give them a voice. These devices and systems can be used for children who have severe expressive and receptive language difficulties. They may also be helpful to children who are speaking inconsistently or who might benefit from additional ways to express themselves.
AAC includes two options, referred to as low-tech and high-tech. Low-tech options include using visual cards, either alone or many in combination, and having the child touch or take the visual card to express their needs, wants and ideas. High-tech options include using a tablet device with an installed software program to communicate by using their hands or eyes to select the visual to express their needs, wants and ideas.
During the assessment, our Speech-Language Pathologists will gather a thorough case history including details about your child’s communication skills and the reasons they communicate. If your child is already an AAC user, they will assess your child using their preferred method of AAC in different situations. If your child is not an AAC user, the therapist will assess how they currently communicate and their ability to make choices, and then will trial low-tech options. If the therapist feels that your child will benefit from a high-tech option, the appropriate referrals will be made.
Our therapists feel strongly that all children should have a way to express themselves. Treatment will vary based on the unique needs of each child and your child’s interests are at the forefront of our treatment plans. Our clinicians have experience working with a range of AAC devices, both low-tech and high-tech. Low-tech experience includes visual cards, communication boards, communication books and switches. Our therapists also have access to a picture symbol creation system to create individualized visual cards and communication boards for your child. Our therapists have experience with high-tech software systems including the LAMP, Proloquo and GoTalk programs. Members of our team stay up to date with AAC research in order to provide evidence-based treatment.