Some children experience developmental or medical conditions that limit their ability to communicate. Thankfully, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) opens the door to easier communication for children who need it. Keep reading to learn what exactly AAC is, what it encompasses, who can benefit from it, and how our speech-language pathologists can help your child learn to express their ideas clearly.

What Is Augmentative and Alternative Communication?

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) refers to a diverse set of tools and strategies designed to support or replace verbal communication. Children who struggle with speech can use gestures, symbols, tools, and technology to help them share their thoughts and feelings with others more clearly. Not only does this empower their ability to communicate, but it helps improve their overall quality of life and makes it easier for their families to provide the right support.

Types of AAC Devices and Methods

There are several different types of AAC devices and methods depending on your child’s specific needs and limitations. Some common types of AAC include:

  • Picture communication systems that use symbols or pictures to represent
    words or ideas
  • Speech-generating devices that produce spoken words based on user input, such as pressing a button
  • Sign language that uses standard hand gestures and movements to convey ideas
  • Communication boards, which are physical or digital boards with symbols or words that a child can point to
  • Writing or drawing tablets that children can use to express their ideas

Why Would My Child Need to Use AAC?

AAC bridges the communication gap and gives a voice to children who face challenges expressing themselves verbally. It is especially beneficial for children who have conditions that impact their speech, such as:

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Developmental delays
  • Hearing impairments
  • Childhood apraxia of speech
  • Traumatic brain injury

Is My Child Too Young for AAC?

The best part about AAC is that it’s appropriate for people of all ages. Anyone who has trouble communicating can benefit from using AAC to express themselves, whether they are a few months or several decades old. And in the case of children with speech delays, AAC can support their language development and encourage them to master their speech and language skills.

How Speech Therapy Helps with AAC

Building Futures’ pediatric speech-language pathologists specialize in play-based therapy techniques to enhance speech and language skills. For children who need AAC, our therapists help children and their families select and learn to use the right device or method for their needs and ability level. Speech therapy not only boosts self-esteem and speech clarity but also empowers children to master AAC for clear and confident communication.

Free Developmental Screening

If you’re concerned about your child’s development, you can take advantage of our free online developmental screening. This tool is a convenient way for parents to know with certainty if your child is achieving their developmental milestones or if they need extra support to achieve their brightest future.

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