Communication Matters

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) for Adults

Alicia Verhovitz, M.A., CCC-SLP | Posted on September 19, 2023

What is AAC?

iStock-1359550143Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) describes multiple ways to communicate that can supplement or compensate (either temporarily or permanently) for the impairment and disability patterns of individuals with severe expressive communication disorders. AAC ranges from pointing to pictures to expressing needs to using small, computerized speech-generating devices; however, it is comprehensive external support for people who cannot understand or generate messages on their own. AAC can be used independently or with assistance from a communication partner.

Who can benefit from AAC?

AAC can be used by anyone and it is not one size fits all. It is not limited to individuals who have had a stroke, it can also be used by individuals who have neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy (CP) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), who also benefit from using AAC devices. AAC devices are utilized by adults and children alike with a focus on customizing the devices to each client’s unique needs.

Is AAC appropriate for clients with aphasia?

Aphasia is a language disorder resulting from an injury to the brain, such as a stroke or head trauma. Following a brain injury, speech therapy is recommended to help improve speaking and listening skills for many people with aphasia. There are many individuals who live with severe and persistent aphasia throughout their lives. For these individuals, an alternative form of communication is needed to participate in activities of daily living!

Where do I go to see if AAC will work for me or someone I know?

At CHSC, we have a skilled team of clinicians who are familiar with evaluating the optimal device choice for each individual. We focus on a comprehensive evaluation process for our clients. We allow time to trial a variety of software and hardware combinations to ensure we have the perfect match for each client’s individual needs. We then provide speech therapy to these clients until they are able to effectively use and manage their AAC devices. Training and support are available to care partners on how to use, program, and manage these devices as well.

Tags: Speech, Language, Communication, Support, Stroke, Caregiving, Brain Injury, talking, Communication Access, Speech therapy, Stroke recovery, Aphasia, Primary Progressive Aphasia



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