AAC or alternative and augmentative communication are strategies, systems and tools that can support an individual with communication difficulties. These tools can be anything from Key word signs (i.e. more, finished) to devices that can replace natural speech. But how does this work?
If we’re thinking about everyday life, an example of using Augmentative and Alternative communication methods might be reaching for the TV remote instead of asking to watch TV. Things like body language, facial expressions and sign language are examples of Unaided Alternative communication methods.
Sometimes, if an individual has trouble expressing their needs and wants to others they can use flashcards, picture boards or devices to support them in their communication. Sometimes you might show a picture of what you’re talking about on your phone instead of discussing it. That’s another example of how we use AAC in our everyday life. Aided AAC devices such as those in a book or iPad can use text (text to speech) or symbols (as shown below) for someone to communicate.
Some people may think AAC is just for kids, but AAC can be implemented with everyone just like we use facial expressions and body language to communicate and ‘Augment’ our daily communication. For someone who needs support with their communication, it is important to contact a speech pathologist for assessment as every individual requires something different.