What is Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)?

According to the American Speech Language Hearing Association, there are over 2 million people with significant expressive language impairment who use AAC. AAC users including people with the following disorders; autism, cerebral palsy, dual sensory impairments, genetic syndromes, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, hearing impairment, disease, stroke, and head injury.

According to the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication Organization. AAC is a set of tools and strategies that an individual uses to solve everyday communicative challenges. Communication can take many forms such as: speech, a shared glance, text, gestures, facial expressions, touch, sign language, symbols, pictures, speech-generating devices, etc. Everyone uses multiple forms of communication, based upon the context and our communication partner. Effective communication occurs when the intent and meaning of one individual is understood by another person. The form is less important than the successful understanding of the message.

The types of AAC includes both low-tech and high tech. Low tech AAC includes symbol charts, PECS,  and communication boards, while high tech AAC include electronic devices such computers, tablets and devices.

The following information provides resources, articles and tips on using AAC:

3 sets of AAC goals for interactive books

5 quick and easy games that build AAC skills

50 simple switch or low tech activities

AAC and Echolalia

AAC for caregivers manual

AAC Quiz

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems for students with CVI and multiple disabilities 

How to make an AAC symbol library

Language opportunities to use AAC at home

Low-Tech AAC Ideas

Promoting inclusion and participation for people who use AAC

Reducing prompt dependence in AAC learners: 5 things to try

The periodic table of AAC

Using AAC more in the classroom

Using LIST in PODD communication books

What does it take to implement AAC

 

Assistive Technology Switches for Children and Adults With Physical Disabilities

Assistive technology devices are identified in the IDEA 2004 as, any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities.

Switches fall under this category which allows people with physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy to manipulate their environment by controlling various types of adaptive and assistive switches used for environmental control and communication devices.

The following are resources for assistive technology switches:

Ablenet- Helps people with disabilities through the creation of assistive technology. Ablenet provides switches for both children and adults.

Adaptive Tech Solutions– A therapist-owned and operated company which provides adaptive equipment for individuals with disabilities

eSpecial Needs– Provides adaptive switches to children and adults with physical disabilities which allows them to manipulate their environment.

Enabling Devices– Creates customized one-of-a-kind assistive technology devices for communication, education and playing.

Rehabmart– sells inclusive learning devices which help children with impairments including augmentative communication and adaptive toys

Assistive Technology Websites

Glenda Assistive Technology Information and More– A website containing information on various types of assistive technology including visual supports, AAC, switches and tablets

Teaching Learners With Multiple Special Needs- Created by Kate Ahern, an assistive technology specialist. This website serves as a resource for teachers or learners with severe, profound, or multiple special needs. There is a great article on 60 things to do with a single switch 

Articles 

Assistiveware- How to Support a Student Who Uses a Switch Device

Breezy Special Ed- How to use your iPAD as a switch device

Perkins School for the Blind: Favorite Cause and Affect Switch Apps

Understood- Checklist: What to consider when looking at assistive technology

For more ideas and resources, visit my Pinterest Site:  Assistive Technology

 

Augumentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Resources

Definition

American Speech-Language Hearing Association
International Society For Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Pediatric Therapy Network
Wikipedia

AAC and Autism

The Center for AAC and Autism
No-Tech and Low-Tech AAC for Children with Autism
Autism Speaks

AAC Communication APPS

Friendship Circle
Top 10 AAC Communication Apps for iPad
Apps for AAC
Top 5 AAC Apps- Learning Works

AAC Funding

Glenda’s Assistive Technology Information
Augmentative Communication Inc.