Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
AAC describes a range of techniques and resources that can help a person to communicate if they have difficulties with their speech. The person may use signs, symbols or text alongisde facial expressions, gestures, pointing and vocalisations. AAC may augment their unclear speech, or it may be an alternative to speech, if they have not yet developed natural speech.
AAC does not stop a person from talking. Research and clinical experience shows us that it often supports speech. I am almost always told by parents and carers that the AAC user starts making more attempts to speak after the introduction of AAC.
In addition to supporting speech, AAC can also support a person's attention and listening, receptive language, expressive language, cognition and memory.
AAC takes many forms including:
Symbol communication boards or books
communication apps on a tablet
An AAC user might benefit from using symbols, or they may be able to use text to spell words.
I will always promote the development of literacy alongside the use of symbols. Literacy opens up a world of knowledge and opportunity.