What is Augmentative/Alternative Communication?

Assistive Technology
Who, Why, What, When, and Where?

A. Who is a candidate for Augmentative/Alternative Communication?

  1. Anyone who is not able to communicate effectively with speech (nonverbal)
  2. Anyone who is partially able to communicate with speech (has speech but is not understood by most listeners or speech is not functional).
  3. Anyone who has adequate speech but requires an augmentative device for purposes of writing or carrying on long conversations. Conditions may include, but are not limited to the following:
    • physically disabled
    • nonspeaking, mobile individuals
    • multiply involved individuals (many labels including SLI)
    • pre-verbal children (use AAC as a transition and a way to facilitate speech)
    • individuals with behavior problems
    • dual sensory impaired (individuals with an impairment of more than one sensory system: vision, hearing, tactile, oral)
    • individuals with word finding difficulties or written language difficulties
    • developmentally delayed

B. Why use Augmentative/Alternative Forms of Communication?

    To give every individual ways to express needs and wants, to share their feelings, thoughts and who they are.

C. What are some facts about Augmentative/Alternative Communication?

  1. Augmentative/alternative communication is multi-disciplinary, it involves student, parent, classroom staff, therapists (speech/language, OT, PT), and administration.
  2. Assessment is ongoing (needs and changes in systems and program are constantly evaluated).
  3. Use of augmentative/alternative communication is mulit-modal in that no one system will be adequate for all communication needs in all settings/environments.
  4. A team evaluation is needed before implementing augumentative/alternative communication.

D. Where and When will Augmentative/Alternative Communication be used?

  1. At home, in school for social and academic purposes, and in the community.
  2. A variety of forms of communication will be used in all activities related to home, school and community.