What is Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)?
AAC includes many ways a person can communicate beyond talking. Augmentative means to add to a person’s speech and Alternative a means to communicate instead of speech. AAC may be used for a short duration such as when a person has surgery while other individuals may use AAC during their childhood and adults years. AAC allows individuals to express thoughts, ideas, wants and needs. From letter boards to computer software, there are many types of AAC methods ranging from no tech, low-tech and high-tech that the speech therapy team at Fairfield Medical Center can utilize to help patients communicate or expand communication abilities.
Our Speech Language Pathologists recently started offering patients high-tech AAC. Individuals with reduced oral speech abilities or who are non-verbal can utilize high-tech AAC software applications and devices to increase their communication. Access methods to communicate include but are not limited to touch screen, keyboard use, mouse use, and eye tracking modules. Eye tracking allows children and adults to control computer software through their eye movements and gaze to communicate.
The Speech Language Pathologists at FMC offer a variety of AAC options for patients, including but not limited to the products of PRC-Saltillo and Tobii-Dynavox.
Benefits of AAC:
- Develop early language skills
- Increase social interactions
- Decrease communication barriers
- Potential facilitation of the development of verbal spoken language
Who would benefit from an AAC speech therapy program?
Individuals of any age who encounter difficulty communicating through speech due to acquired or congenital disabilities would benefit from AAC. Some of these conditions include autism, cerebral palsy and neurological disease, such as ALS or stroke, hearing impairment, genetic syndromes, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities and head injury.