All children develop language at different rates in various ways. Verbal communication is always the primary goal for children receiving speech and language therapy. However, some children begin to develop frustration behaviors or begin avoiding interactions when they learn that they are not able to express their wants, needs, feelings, or stories. Some children may not even have any formal diagnosis, but are still not developing verbal communication well enough to express themselves. This is when your therapist may consider use of augmentative or alternative forms of communication (AAC).

Children develop language at different rates in and in different ways.  Verbal communication is the primary goal for children receiving speech and language therapy.  However, a child may begin to develop behaviors that stem from frustration because of communication difficulties and differences.  A child may begin to avoid interactions or demonstrate other behaviors secondary to frustration.  To reduce some aggravation, a speech therapist may recommend and employ the use of various forms of Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC).  AAC involves use of signs/gestures, pictures, or electronic devices.

The Ways We Can Communicate

  • Talking
  • Gesturing (head nods, pointing, etc.)
  • Writing

No Tech AAC

  • Signs/Gestures
    • Signs are easier to produce
    • Signs to indicate “more” “hungry” “thirsty”
    • Helpful first step in facilitating and promoting further development of words
    • Portable and can be fast paced for immediate communication of wants and needs

Low Tech AAC

  • Picture communication
    • Picture Communication Could be simple with 2-3 pictures to many pages of picture options to communication wants and needs
    • Visual Schedules assists in easing transitions and outlining day to day expectations of interaction and functioning

High Tech AAC

  • Devices that use batteries, electricity, and can be dynamic
  • iPads with specialized SGD programs, devices with eye gaze, touch screens