A Review of AAC Devices and Who They Can Help

Most parents will never know the difficulty of trying to communicate with a child who struggles to speak. If you have a non-speaking or primarily non-speaking child, you are all too familiar with the endless desire to simply understand what your child wants at any given moment.

As a parent navigating the complexities of raising a child with autism, finding effective communication methods can be life-changing. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices can be an invaluable tool to aid this communication. These devices empower children with communication challenges, providing them with a way to express their inner world, needs, and thoughts more clearly.

AAC devices are not simply tools for learning; they are keys to unlocking a richer, more connected life for autistic children. By giving them a means to communicate, these devices open up new avenues for interaction, understanding, and personal growth, both at home and in various social settings.

What are AAC Devices?

AAC devices are specialized tools that assist individuals with verbal speech difficulties. These devices vary widely in complexity and functionality. 

On the simpler end, they include picture boards or cards that allow users to convey messages through visual symbols. On the more advanced side, there are electronic devices capable of generating speech. These high-tech AAC devices can include touch screens, symbol-based software, or text-to-speech features, enabling users to create words and sentences that are then spoken aloud by the device, facilitating more dynamic communication.

Could an AAC Device Help Your Child?

An AAC device can be highly beneficial for children who face challenges with verbal communication, including those with autism. These devices offer a vital alternative communication method, accommodating children who might be non-verbal or non-speaking, or those who find traditional speech challenging. They provide a means for these children to express their needs, thoughts, and feelings in a more comfortable and effective way, enhancing their ability to communicate with others and reducing frustrations associated with communication barriers.

What are the Different Types of AAC Devices?

AAC devices are varied to suit the unique communication needs and preferences of each individual.

  • No-Tech Options: These include picture boards and picture cards, such as the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), which uses picture cards to help users communicate their needs and thoughts without speaking. 
  • Low-Tech Devices: These are simple, portable devices with buttons that, when pressed, play pre-recorded messages. These are ideal for individuals who need basic, quick communication aids.
  • High-Tech Options: These include advanced devices like tablets or specialized computers equipped with software such as Proloquo2Go or LAMP Words for Life. The systems provide comprehensive text-to-speech capabilities, customizable vocabularies, and adaptable interfaces to cater to complex communication needs.

What are the Benefits of AAC Devices?

These devices can significantly enhance the quality of life for those on the autism spectrum. By facilitating effective communication, they open up opportunities for enriched social interaction, improved educational experiences, and greater independence. This empowerment is crucial for building confidence and self-esteem in children who struggle with conventional speech.

They are also instrumental in promoting inclusivity and participation in various aspects of life. They enable individuals to participate in conversations and engage more fully with their communities. More than communication aids, they can serve as pathways to an increasingly connected life.

As a specialized institution, Gersh Academy understands the unique needs of children with communication challenges and is equipped to provide tailored solutions, including AAC devices when appropriate. Our expert professionals can offer valuable guidance and support in enhancing your child’s communication and overall development.

If you have questions regarding how we can improve your child’s ability to engage with the world, reach out here.



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