Introduction to Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) refers to ways (other than speech) that are used to send a message from one person to another. We all use augmentative communication techniques, such as facial expressions, gestures, and writing, as part of our daily lives. In difficult listening situations (noisy rooms, for example), we tend to augment our words with even more gestures and exaggerated facial expressions.
People with severe speech or language problems must rely quite heavily on these standard techniques as well as on special augmentative techniques that have been specifically developed for them. Some of these techniques involve the use of specialized gestures, sign language, or Morse code. Other techniques use communication aids, such as charts, bracelets and language boards. On aids such as these, objects may be represented by pictures, drawings, letters, words, sentences, special symbols, or any combination thereof.
The goal of AAC is the most effective communication possible and, in turn, the greatest potential for personal achievement.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has an excellent "Introduction to Augmentative and Alternative Communication", including a glossary and issues to remember when working with a child's alternative communication team. To access this information, click on the AHSA link below.
Click here to see ASHA's "Introduction to Augmentative and Alternative Communication".
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