Considering AAC? Ask These 5 Questions

Over 2 million people with an expressive language impairment currently use some form of AAC, or augmentative and alternative communication. AAC can include a truly wide range of multimodal communication systems, including any existing speech, facial expressions, gestures, American Sign Language (ASL), other gestures, and aided communication or devices. All of these modalities can be incredibly helpful in supporting an individual's ability to communicate with others through the use of one or more total communication strategies meant to maximize expressive output.

However, many often immediately think of devices -- speech-generating tablets or other hardware -- and other aided communication systems when considering AAC. While devices may not be the best fit for every person, what are some factors to consider when thinking through this decision?

Aided communication can include communication and/or choice boards with pictures that individuals can point out, as well as tablets or handheld devices that generate speech when icons are selected.

There are no prerequisites for getting started with AAC, but parents and clinicians can consider the following when thinking through options for aided communication:

  1. Does the child produce any speech?
  2. In what context(s) will the child need to communicate?
  3. What support will the child have in using an aided communication system?
  4. What skills does the child have in using a device? These can include vision, hearing, sensory-motor skills, etc.
  5. Has the child shown proficiency with other aided or unaided systems?

Ultimately, decisions about AAC are the result of continuing conversations between clinicians and families, based on clinical experience, best practice, and the preferences of a family. If you have additional questions about decision-making and AAC, speak with one of our clinicians or offices today.


Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) (