Communication Matters

Augmentative/Alternative Communication and Speech-Generating Devices

Michelle Foye, MA CCC-SLP | Posted on May 10, 2018

Sometimes, despite what speech therapy can offer and how hard you may try to improve or regain your verbal communication skills, you may need to consider other options. Modern technological advances have brought about many improvements in devices that can supplement or augment your communication skills. There are simple items and more sophisticated computerized tools as well. These tools are referred to collectively as Augmentative/Alternative Communication (AAC) devices. Some devices speak for you and are called speech-generating devices (SGD).

A variety of AAC devices are available. AAC ranges from pointing to pictures to express needs to using small, computerized speech-generating devices. Individuals who have had a stroke or other medical conditions and are unable to regain spoken language may need to use AAC devices. Likewise, people who have neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy may begin using AAC devices early in childhood and continue to use them throughout their life.

We can help find the system that's right for you. In the past, AAC devices were large and cumbersome. Today, these devices are more compact and portable, making it easier for an active person to communicate in various settings.

A speech-language pathologist (SLP) who is well versed in various communication disorders and the range of devices available can complete a comprehensive assessment of your needs and abilities. When necessary, the SLP will also work with occupational therapists or physical therapists to ensure the selected system will work with your visual and physical abilities.

Will my insurance cover the cost of an AAC device?

Devices range in cost from $200 to more than $10,000, depending on whether they are low-tech or high-tech. Private insurance may help cover the cost, but coverage varies widely between companies.

Our Speech-Language Pathologists will complete the appropriate paperwork and reporting required by insurance companies. The clinician will explain the process of getting authorization and coverage during the evaluation session(s).

Tags: Speech, Language, Communication, Voice

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