Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

What are these difficulties characterised by?

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) refers to a range of approaches and systems that either support or replace spoken language.

AAC can be low tech (e.g. paper based boards/books, signing), medium tech (e.g. talkers with a small number of buttons and words) or high tech (dedicated devices or iPads with apps such as Proloquo2Go, LAMP, SnapCore).

Individuals will use their AAC in different ways. Some people may be able to use their finger to point/touch the screen. Others may use eye-pointing either with an eye-tracker or with the support of a communication partner to interpret what the red eye-pointing to.

AAC may be symbol/.picture based, language based (using words/spelling) or a combination of both.

AAC also refers to the use of gestures and facial expressions to support communication. AAC includes the use of signing systems such as Makaton.

AAC is used as part of a Total Communication approach where all forms of communication are encouraged and respected enabling individuals to communicate in a range of ways.

There are no pre-requisite skills that an individual must display before trialling high-tech AAC but lower-tech devices may be introduced initially to develop an understanding of what system will be most appropriate for that individual.

AAC is used to support children and young people who have a range of communication needs to communicate. It can reduce frustration and will not stop a child/young person from talking.

How does this impact the child?

  • AAC can reduce frustration caused by a wide range of communication difficulties.
  • It gives children and young people a way to communicate their wants, needs and ideas.
  • Children and young people who use AAC will require supportive communication partners who model AAC to them throughout their day, ensure their AAC system is kept up to date with appropriate vocabulary and provide them with additional time to express themselves.

How can ChatterBug support your child?

Here at ChatterBug our knowledgeable team of therapists will assess your child to determine what AAC systems would be most appropriate.

We can support applications to regional AAC hubs if your child meets the NHS criteria for a funded AAC device.

If you already have AAC we can support you to develop your child’s skills in using this current/new AAC system.

Our team has experience in using a range of low, medium and high tech AAC systems with children and young people with a variety of communication needs.

We can provide training for parents and school staff related to your child/young person’s AAC system or more general training on supporting children and young people who use AAC.

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