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Augmentative and alternative communication

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is a range of strategies and tools to help people who struggle with speech. AAC helps someone to communicate as effectively as possible, in as many situations as possible.

Communication can take many forms such as speech, text, gestures, facial expressions, touch, sign language, symbols, pictures, and speech-generating devices. We all use many different forms of communication, based upon the context and our communication partner. Effective communication is when the message is understood by the other person. The way the message is delivered is less important.

Some examples of AAC include:

  • gestures
  • signing
  • writing
  • symbols
  • word Boards
  • communication Boards
  • communication Books
  • voice Output Communication Aids (VOCAs)/ Speech generating devices (SGDs)

There is no ‘best’ type of AAC system. Each has pros and cons. The most suitable one for an individual will depend on their personal preference, situation and their abilities and needs. Specialist assessment will help to identify the most appropriate AAC system(s). Speech and language therapists can support this process.

Communication matters (opens in new tab)

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