Module 4: Augmentative and Alternative Communication

What Do We Mean by the Term AAC?

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is a variety of tools and technologies that assist anyone to communicate their thoughts, ideas, and needs. Students with complex needs and multiple disabilities often rely on one or more AAC systems to enhance their personal communication and interact more widely.

An AAC system can be made up of several components to meet specific student needs, and these can include unaided, low-tech, and high-tech devices. The Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) on the students’ team is there to help you. The SLP can demonstrate what the AAC does and how to use this. The SLP can train the team to feel more confident in using the AAC and will collaborate with the team to program the device and develop the system.

Watch a video that shows how Ava communicates using high tech AAC technology. (3 mins)

Let’s look at the different kinds of AAC used in schools. Some of these are:

  • Unaided AAC (gestures and signs)
  • No tech and low-tech systems (communication boards)
  • High tech systems (eye gaze systems)