Monday, November 7, 2022

5 Myths about Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

If you have a child who is nonverbal or has difficulty communicating, you may be considering augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). However, you may have heard some myths about AAC that are holding you back from pursuing this life-changing intervention. Let's dispel some of these AAC myths so you can make an informed decision about what's best for your child.

Myth #1: AAC is a "last resort" in speech-language intervention.

This couldn't be further from the truth! In fact, research has shown that early intervention with AAC can lead to better outcomes for children with communication delays and disorders. Don't wait until your child is older to start exploring AAC options.

Myth #2: AAC hinders or stops further speech development.

Again, this is not the case. In fact, many children who use AAC devices also continue to develop their vocal skills. AAC can actually provide a way for children to practice using their voices to communicate before they are able to produce consistent, intelligible speech.

Myth #3: Speech generating devices are only for children with intact cognition.

AAC devices and apps can be used by anyone who has difficulty communicating, regardless of cognitive ability. Whether your child has autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or another diagnosis, there is an AAC solution that can meet their needs.

Myth #4: Children have to be a certain age to be able to benefit from AAC.

This is not true! Children of all ages can learn to use AAC systems if they are given the right supports and guidance. Some young children may require more hands-on assistance at first, but with patience and practice, they will quickly learn how to communicate using their AAC device or app.

Myth #5: High-tech AAC is better than low-tech AAC.

The type of AAC system that is best for your child depends on their individual needs and preferences. Some children do well with low-tech systems like picture boards, while others prefer more sophisticated speech-generating devices. There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to choosing an AAC system.

There are many misconceptions about augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). hopefully this article has dispelled some of the myths that you may have heard about AAC interventions. As you make decisions about what's best for your child's communication development, remember that there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to choosing an AAC system. Work with your child's therapist to explore all of the options and find the solution that works best for your family.

By Katherine Wallisch M.S., CCC-SLP, CAS, BCCS

Speech Language Pathologist

AAC & Autism Expert

Parent Empowerment for Special Needs Kids

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