Updated: Jun 6
According to the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISSAC), this year’s theme is “Show Your Voice”. Learn more about ISSAC, including their "Show Your Voice Discussion Series" event on October 26th. 2022, at this link: ISSAC AAC Awareness Month 2022
Do you want to share your story about your experience with AAC? Do you know someone who would want to share their story? A testimony, an uplifting experience, or a breakthrough - we would love to hear about it! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to share!
Did you know? Many people can benefit from access to AAC for communication.
It's estimated that approximately 5 million Americans and 97 million people across the world could benefit from AAC (Beukelman & Light, 2020).
AAC is augmentative when it is used to supplement existing speech and it is alternative when it is used when speech is absent or not functional (Elsahar et al., 2019).
AAC can be beneficial for individuals who have developmental disorders, acquired communication disorders, or in a temporary manner.
It's estimated that 25%–30% children with autism could benefit from AAC (Iacono et al., 2016), approximately 80% of persons with ALS use some form of AAC across their lifespan (Brownlee & Palovcak, 2007), and 85% of children with cerebral palsy may benefit from AAC intervention (Hustad et al., 2014).
More and more people rely on the use of AAC as a means of communication!
Did you know? AAC does not hinder speech development.
In fact, research shows that AAC can support improvement in natural speech! The literature suggests AAC intervention does not hinder speech development, and in many cases AAC supports improvement in speech (Romski & Sevcik, 2005).
In a meta-analysis by Millar, Light, and Schlosser (2006), they looked at 27 cases and found that none of the cases demonstrated decreases in speech production as a result of AAC intervention. In fact, 89% demonstrated gains in speech!
Did you know? AAC comes in many different forms!
Low-tech or light-tech AAC comes in many shapes and sizes. It's any form of communication that doesn't use any electronics. It can be written communication with a pen and paper, a communication board, or picture cards.
Need a low-tech medical keyboard working in the inpatient rehab setting? We have that here: Low-Tech Medical Keyboard. Need a low-tech core word board for emerging communicators? We have that here: CoreWord20.
High-tech AAC is often referred to as speech-generating devices or SGDs.
Did you know? Mastery of low-tech AAC isn't required before using high-tech AAC.
We all use multi-modal communication - gestures, pointing, facial expressions. The same is true for AAC users! Access to multimodal communication is key. Introduction of high-tech AAC should never be contingent on an individual's failures or successes with low-tech AAC. A combination of strategies is key for communication success!
High-tech AAC provides a user with a robust vocabulary and increase opportunities for using more complex language functions and provides a user with voice output functions, while low-tech provides a user with communication in more difficult environments (e.g., bath time, at the pool).
Forbes AAC is excited to celebrate AAC Awareness Month! See how Forbes AAC users show their voices here: User Stories.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (n.d.). Augmentative and Alternative Communication (Practice Portal). www.asha.org/Practice-Portal/Professional-Issues/Augmentative-and-Alternative-Communication/
Beukelman, D. R., & Light, J. C. (2020). Augmentative & alternative communication: Supporting children and adults with complex communication needs (5th ed.). Brookes.
Brownlee, A., & Palovcak, M. (2007). The role of augmentative communication devices in the medical management of ALS. NeuroRehabilitation, 22(6), 445–450. https://doi.org/10.3233/nre-2007-22607
Elsahar, Y., Hu, S., Bouazza-Marouf, K., Kerr, D., & Mansor, A. (2019). Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) advances: A review of configurations for individuals with a speech disability. Sensors, 19(8), 1911. https://doi.org/10.3390/s19081911
Hustad, K. C., Allison, K., McFadd, E., & Riehle, K. (2014). Speech and language development in 2-year-old children with cerebral palsy. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 17(3), 167–175. https://doi.org/10.3109/17518423.2012.747009
Iacono, T., Trembath, D., & Erickson, S. (2016). The role of augmentative and alternative communication for children with autism: Current status and future trends. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 12, 2349–2361. https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S95967
Millar, D. C., Light, J., & Schlosser, R. W. (2006). The impact of augmentative and alternative communication intervention on the speech production of individuals with developmental disabilities: A research review. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 49(2), 248–264. https://doi.org/10.1044/1092-4388(2006/021)
Romski, M., & Sevcik, R. A. (2005). Augmentative communication and early intervention: Myths and realities. Infants & Young Children, 18(3), 174–185. https://doi.org/10.1097/00001163-200507000-00002
Katie Threlkeld, M.S., CCC-SLP is a licensed, ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist and the Educational Program Developer at Forbes AAC. She has over eight years of experience in AT and AAC assessment and treatment with both the pediatric and adult populations. Katie has presented at the state and national level on AAC topics and she has University teaching experience at the undergraduate and graduate level.