Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC) helps to support individuals who are not using vocal speech or have limited vocal skills. Often, a non-speaking person will have many thoughts they wish to communicate but may not have the ability to do so with their current communication abilities. AAC can provide a way for them to express themselves! While this is true across all ages, it is especially important for young children who are still learning to communicate. AAC can help them learn how to communicate effectively, reduce challenging behaviors, and may even help develop their speech skills! In fact, in a research review, 89% of individuals introduced to AAC actually had an increase in their vocal speech. It is a myth that introducing a new form of communication such as sign language, an AAC device, or picture exchange system (PECS), means we are giving up on speech.
89% of individuals introduced to AAC actually had an increase in their vocal speech
Not only does AAC improve communication, research shows that it also reduces frustration for learners and their communication partners. In a 2021 study of over 100 children with developmental delays and challenging behaviors, just teaching them a way to better communicate their needs led to a 90% reduction in challenging behaviors. In this study, only one individual did not show improvement, meaning that for 99% of the children, teaching new communication was effective at improving their behaviors!
In a 2021 study of over 100 children with developmental delays and challenging behaviors, just teaching them a way to better communicate their needs led to a 90% reduction in challenging behaviors
When learners cannot effectively convey their wants, needs, and feelings, it can reduce their motivation to communicate, ultimately hiding their voice. However, with AAC, everyone can be heard and understood.
AAC can be used by anyone who struggles with vocal communication. There are people who use AAC as an augmentative system, there are people who use it as an alternative system, and for some people, it depends on the day or the situation. No matter the reasons for using AAC, the benefits are the same! Communication!!
Our mission with our newly published book, AAC Visualized, is to normalize the use of AAC, advocate for more acceptance and access to AAC, and empower families through collaboration and education. With AAC Visualized, learn how to best support those in your life who are nonvocal or have limited speech. Whether you are brand new to AAC or aim to expand your learner's overall communication skills, we have step-by-step visuals to guide you! With more than 20 visualized skills, an approachable overview of AAC, a visual guide to getting an AAC assessment, and a collection of templates & tools, you will be ready to support your learner!