Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Augmentative and Alternative Communication, or AAC, is a term that is used to describe various methods of communication that can help people – young and old – who are either unable to use verbal speech to communicate or need enhancement. AAC methods vary and may be personalised to meet each individual's needs.
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    Augmentative Systems

    Augmentative systems are used by people who already have some speech but are either unable to be understood, or have limited speaking ability. So, their speech is augmented or enhanced so that they can be clearer to more people or be able to express more than their spoken voice allows.

    This is also for young children while they are learning to speak, for example by using simple signs or specific visual pictures.

    Alternative communication is the term used when a person has no speech at all. These people must completely rely on another method to make all their ideas, wants, or needs known.

    Examples of AAC:

    • Natural gestures
    • Sign language
    • Communication book
    • Symbols – picture, photo, line drawing
    • Letter board
    • Core board
    • Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display (PODD)
    • Software on a tablet, such as TouchChat
    • Eye-gaze
    • Head tracking

    Have a discussion with a Speech Language Therapist first to get the best guidance, then trial to see how it suits. Remember, any AAC tool is only as good as how often it is being used!

    For some individuals with high and complex needs, a specialised TalkLink Therapist is involved for specific assessment and trialling of equipment. A separate Speech Language Therapist is involved to the ongoing support, monitoring and extension of use for the AAC. Vocalsaints Therapists have experience to provide this therapy.

    Click here for further information about this topic.

    What people say about us

    Mother of a 2 year old daughter – parental coaching “Sarah took the time to get to know us as a family and understand how to best meet the needs of our daughter. Her initial focus was teaching us as parents the foundations of communication and how to model this to our daughter. This knowledge has been the backbone of all that we have done moving forward. We are so grateful to have this information under our belt!”

    -- Mother of a 2 year old daughter
    Mother of a 2 year old requiring AAC "As a family we have all had to learn a new language - PODD. Sarah has been patient and understanding and goes above and beyond to find new ways to teach us this language - always fun and interactive. She listens and respects our input and allows us to go at our pace with our own learning.”"

    -- Mother of a 2 year old requiring AAC