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Augmentative-Alternative Communication

AAC includes the use of all forms of communication other than the use of oral speech. When speech and language disorders are severe, AAC can help a person improve their ability to communicate.

What is AAC?

Speech and language disorders occur with varying severities. Some patients possess minimal to no means of verbal communication. In this case, a patient may be a candidate for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). Use of AAC means communicating by in any way possible besides verbal/oral speech. It includes gestures, facial expressions, pictures, symbols, and written language.

AAC devices can include low-tech communication boards with symbols, pictures, or written words, or it can include high-tech devices with symbols, words and electronic voice output. These devices paired with a patient's existing speech or non-verbal communication, however minimal, often increase a person's overall communicative ability. When a child or an adult gains the capacity to communicate efficiently and effectively, social interactions, scholastic abilities, and self-worth are often significantly enhanced.

AAC Categorized

AAC systems are categorized by whether the device delivers the message (Aided) or the communicator's body via gestures or sign language (Unaided). Examples of Aided communication systems include paper/pencil systems to Dynavox (R) devices which generate electronic speech. It is the Speech Pathologist's job to evaluate a patient and determine the best form or forms of communication to meet that individual's needs.


"Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)." Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). Accessed April 17, 2015.

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