Augmentative Communication

  • What is Augmentative Communication?
    Many individuals who require the use of Augmentative-Alternative Communication (AAC) are also unable to use compensatory strategies such as gestures and pointing due to either cognitive, social skills challenges and/or physical disabilities. AAC is vital for any person who is unable to meet communication needs using natural speech.

    The American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) estimate that approximately 2 million Americans are unable to speak well enough to meet their communication needs. Without an appropriate AAC system these individuals are unable to communicate even they’re most basic wants and needs. This article will explain different types of AAC and how AAC can help non-verbal individuals become more independent, functional communicators.

    ASHA defines AAC as:
      … area of clinical practice that attempts to compensate (either temporarily or permanently) for the impairment and disability patterns of individuals with severe expressive communication disorders (i.e., the severe speech-language and writing impaired) (ASHA, 1989, p.107).

    Who uses augmentative communication?

    There are numerous types of disabilities that may result in an individual needing an AAC system. These disabilities include congenital disorders such as developmental apraxia of speech, autism spectrum disorders, developmental delay, specific language disorders, mental retardation and cerebral palsy as well as acquired disorders such as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), multiple sclerosis, stroke, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury. (

    The following are are just a few sites on the internet that focus on AAC technologies. They include different types of devices and companies.

    AAC Tech Connect

    Prentke Romich Company

    Augmentative and Alternative Communication Connecting Young Kids

    RJ Cooper and Associates

    Mayer Johnson

    Speech Friends

    National Intervention Resources