Benefits of Augmentative and Alternative Communication

benefits of augmentative and alternative communication

The benefits of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is to provide a multimodal form of communication that is most often used in addition to a individual’s voice to help them communicate. Saying that AAC is a multimodal, it means that AAC allows the user to use and have every possible means for communication: their voice, gestures, sign language, etc. 


A Temporary and Permanant Solution

AAC can be a temporary solution for many people, one that will eventually phase out when the student no longer needs the additional support to their verbal speech. AAC can also be a permanent addition to a person’s verbal communication. For example, those who have progressive diseases, like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), where their vocal cords will eventually become weak from muscular degeneration, need to have an AAC device for the entirety of their lives to get their thoughts across once the vocal muscles have become too weak for them to use their own voice for communication.  


ACC For Those in Need

AAC is introduced for many different reasons. Many people who use AAC are those who cannot fully rely on their verbal speech to get their wants and needs met. This does not mean that they are unable to vocalize, but rather that they sometimes need something extra, their device, to help them communicate functionally. Typically, AAC is first introduced to individuals when they are children, specifically children who are non-verbal, minimally verbal, were born with cerebral palsy (CP), were diagnosed with childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), have multiple sensory impairments, were born with a genetic syndromes, have intellectual disability, children who have a hearing impairment, or for speech students who are suffering from a disease, have had a stroke, or have experienced traumatic brain injury (TBI).


A Steppingstone Thats Aids in Speech

The means of communication that AAC devices provide is something that many families and people are thankful for. Their devices give many loved ones a way to express themselves to the world. To reiterate, AAC does not take away from or inhibit verbal speech. It is actually the opposite. AAC devices should be looked at as a steppingstone that aids in speech, especially for young kids who are just learning the how and why behind language communication. AAC devices promote verbal speech because the child receives additional auditory input. With the device, the child is able to see and/or hear the word being communicated. In addition, researchers have found that AAC not only promotes verbal speech, but it also helps children with their social skills, and later on, with their academics.


Benefits of AAC

The benefits that AAC devices provide for children with speech delays, greatly outweigh any negative thoughts one might be having. It has been proven that AAC can help in a lot of ways. AAC can be helpful to decrease challenging behaviors a child might be having due to not being able to communicate effectively. Also, AAC can help reduce the child and their families frustration from their child not being able to tell them what they want or need. After all, the most basic right that any human being has is to be able to get their needs and wants met. How do we get these needs and wants met one might ask? Simple! Through communication.


Types of ACC Devices

No Technology

American Sign Language (ASL) 

The Benefits of Augmentative and Alternative Communication


Low Technology

Picture Exchange System (PECS)

Game Play communication board- taken from | Communication board, Pecs communication, Autism communication

Alphabet Pointing Board

Alphabet Boards | Communication Tools and Materials (Patient-Provider Communication Network)


Eye Gaze Board

Eyegaze communication board with punctuation marks and directives (back, break, guess, do… | Life skills special education, Communication board, Speech and language


Mid Technology:

Go Talk Device or mobile app

GoTalk 32+ Communication Aid |


High Technology

Tobii Dynavox

The type of AAC device that is right for your child or for yourself differs with each individual. There is not one device that works for everyone. AAC devices are inclusive of the individual that they serve and are tailored to meet their needs. How one is able to access the device, what type of language abilities they have and/or lacking in, where they will be using the device, how sturdy of a device they need and are some questions that are considered when choosing the correct option for a speech student.


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Naomi Ester Rahmani MS CCC-SLP


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