Children with severe speech or language challenges may benefit from the use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). This refers to any type of communication other than verbal speech (e.g. gestures, sign language, pictures, and speech generating devices). AAC can be used by those who cannot rely on speech as their primary means of communication. It is important to note that children who use AAC should not stop using speech if they are able to do so. The AAC methods are not intended to replace or inhibit existing skills, but rather to enhance the child’s ability to be a functional communicator. Research has shown that the use of AAC does not prevent the emergence of speech. If fact, studies have found that it may facilitate the development of speech.
Children with significant communication difficulties may have access to a specialized AAC clinic where they can be provided with assessments, equipment and support. As a speech-language pathologist who is experienced in this area, I can provide additional support or help with the ongoing functional use of the AAC system once the child can no longer receive this support through the clinic.
If the child does not have access to an AAC clinic, I can assist families to design and create picture communication systems that can be very helpful for enhancing the child’s communication.
iPads are becoming increasingly common as a type of AAC device. With so many AAC apps available, it can be difficult for parents to select the one that is most beneficial for their child. I can guide parents through this process and provide support for the functional use of the AAC app in various environments.