Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is any type of non-spoken communication. Augmentative means adding to someone’s speech. Alternative means that it will be used instead of speech. When you use something other than spoken words to express a thought, feeling, or idea, you’re using AAC! All humans use AAC every day — think about things like gestures, drawing pictures, writing, or facial expressions.
We all have different ways we communicate best. For example, the person writing this article prefers written communication for some things and speaking for other things.
Speech may be difficult for autistic kids for many reasons. AAC gives all people an alternative way to communicate that doesn’t require speech. Autism is a dynamic disability, which means your child’s needs and abilities may fluctuate from day to day or moment to moment. Even neurotypical people sometimes have days when they feel drained and don’t feel up to talking. It is crucial to your child’s safety that they always have a way to communicate.
No! In fact, AAC can actually help your child speak more! Your child will continue to develop language and speech. AAC is a tool to support your child’s communication. Children will naturally use speech when they are able. AAC is there to enhance your child’s abilities.
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