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Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Talking About...Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

What is Augmentative and Alternative Communication?

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is a way to support a child’s communication when they have difficulty speaking. AAC can be:

  • High-tech (such as a speech generating device (SGD) that talks for the child)
  • Low-tech AAC (such as simple pictures or writing)
  • No-tech (such as sign language)

What can I do to help my child?

A speech-language pathologist can evaluate and treat children who use AAC. If you have questions about whether your child may benefit from AAC, please discuss them with your child’s speech-language pathologist.

How can parents help?

The purpose of AAC is to teach the child a different way to communicate. Adults give models of speech that help their children learn to talk. Parents also need to give models when the child is learning to use AAC. Parents may be asked to use the pictures, communication book, or speaking device to help their child learn.

Parents may also need to learn sign language or to learn how to use a high-tech AAC device. As with learning any new skill, frequent practice between therapy sessions is important.

Last Updated 09/2020

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