Augmentative & Alternative Communication Awareness Month

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October is International AAC Awareness Month. The goal is to raise awareness of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and to inform the public about the many different ways in which people communicate using AAC.

 

What is Augmentative and Alternative Communication?

AAC is:

Pictures, photos, text to speech, communication apps, communication devices, eye gaze boards, switches with voice output, and so much more!

Why do students need AAC?

These communication tools help “augment” a child’s verbal speech by helping them “see” and/or “hear” how words can be combined to communicate different messages. These communication tools can also serve as an “alternative” voice for a student who is unable to speak or communicate effectively.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication Connecting Young Kids states that “AAC Intervention should be focused on teaching the basic communication skills that will improve an individual’s life by enabling participation in ongoing events and activities in his or her environment.”

Where is AAC used?

EVERYWHERE! The more access students have to different types of AAC the more opportunities they have to learn the language and how to communicate. Students learn language and communicate during natural everyday routines (Gelinas & Bunn). “Without participation, there is no one to talk to, nothing to talk about, and no reason to communicate” (Beukelman & Mirenda, 1992). Classrooms with communication in mind will have multiple forms of AAC posted and located everywhere!  It is easily accessible to take advantage of EVERY opportunity for EVERY student.

Who can help me use AAC?

Talk to a speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, or fellow special education teacher.  All of these professionals can help, and if they do not know, they may know someone who can!




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