What is AAC and How Does it Benefit Your Child?
What is AAC and who can benefit?
AAC stands for Augmentative and Alternative Communication! This can span from low-tech (choice board, white board, PECS, etc.) to high-tech (eye gaze device, speech generating device, tablets, etc.) communication systems. AAC is another mode of communication your child may prefer in order to express themselves both creatively and independently. Any and all children could benefit from use of AAC for speech-language development!
Will AAC hinder my child’s verbal communication?
Absolutely not! Research has shown that AAC does NOT negatively impact a child’s speech-language development, and studies have shown that AAC can actually benefit or improve your child’s verbal communication skills similar to incorporating sign language! AAC can benefit your child’s speech-language development by providing them with visuals to increase their comprehension, a more comfortable way for them to play with new words/concepts and request familiar objects/actions while simultaneously developing the ability to identify them.
How do I choose the best AAC device for my child?
Trial and error is the best way to ensure you have incorporated the most beneficial device for your child. AAC can be as simple or complex as desired! Personally, I love to incorporate a speech generating device (SGD) in most of my therapy sessions in order for the child to comment and/or make choices creatively, as well as to have a visual for the sentences they are forming. On the more simplistic side you may feel more comfortable trialing a first/then chart or a choice board initially. Pictures attached below for examples. A first/then chart is a great way to provide your child with a visual on what to expect within their daily activities, as well as a way for them to request activities in sequence! A choice board can be a simple print out of multiple pictures in which the child points to desired object/action to communicate. As your child becomes more comfortable with the choice board, you can begin to implement more pictures to broaden the field your child has to pick from (making it more complex). There is a wide variety of AAC options to explore so make sure to reach out to your therapy provider so we can provide you with more information!