Augmentative and Alternative Therapy (AAC)

By July 4, 2012Blog

AAC is used when speech is not an adequate means of functional communication. The “augmentative” refers to any devices, methods, or systems that are used in addition to speech. This can be necessary when someone’s speech is not clear due to low volume, low tone, or articulation errors, or when someone requires vocal rest. The “alternative” refers to any device, method, or system used for communication when speech has not developed or has been lost. Many devices or systems can be both. AAC devices are used by many individuals, including those with autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, dysarthria, aphasia.

Like our clients, AAC devices come in all shapes and sizes! Low or no-tech systems include the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), single cell switch devices (e.g. Big Red Switch, Jelly Beamer, Big Mac), or multi switch devices (e.g. Step-by-Step, Multi-Step Big Mac) or static communication devices (e.g. GoTalk devices). Hi-tech devices include Dynavox products (e.g. Tango, Maestro, V), Tobii software and devices, PRC Unity devices (e.g. ECO, Vantage Lite), and iPad applications (e.g. TouchChat, SceneSpeak, Look2Learn, Sonoflex, Proloquo2Go).

The aim of all of AAC devices is to increase functional communication. Whether this means requesting with one word for a desired item or commenting on your surroundings, AAC devices help individuals get their needs met and allow them to be participants in social situations.

EVERYONE is a candidate for AAC. There is no cognitive prerequisite, and accommodations can be made to all systems and devices.

Brooklyn Letters evaluates individuals to determine if there is a need for AAC, and which device or system would best suit that individual. Our specialists work with families to help individuals develop independence and work towards overcoming their particular difficulties. They are available to review, augment and implement assistive technology recommendations made as a result of an evaluation. They also conduct AAC therapy which works on familiarizing clients with their AAC device or system, and provide communicative partner training to ensure generalization. In addition, they are available to consult with schools about adapting curriculum, integrating assistive technology, and training teaching staff on how to work with assistive technology tools.