Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems

An Augmentative and Alternative Communication system is a means of communication which either supports or provides and alternative means of communication, to spoken communication. These systems are often referred to as high tech or low tech communication systems.

What is a high-tech communication aid?

A high-tech communication aid is an electronic device that is used to support communication. This may include devices such as a tablet computer with specialist communication and interaction software installed, which can be controlled using direct access, switches or eye gaze.

Switches and voice output communication aids  also are high tech and provide the ability to communicate using single or short message outputs. These can also support the use of switch-activated toys or household items to encourage early communication skills.

There is a wide range of high-tech communication aid options. The above-mentioned is not an exhaustive list of options. 

What is a low tech communication aid?

A low tech communication aid often refers to a paper based communication system ,such as  a communication book (i.e PECS or PODD) or use of an E-Tran frame (for communication using eye gaze)

Within low tech systems there are also unaided options meaning that you can communicate without resources i.e using sign language or touch cues for communication.

We have experience in implementing and supporting skill development with a variety of AAC, both High tech AAC  (technology based) or Low tech (paper based/ unaided).

We are trained and have experience in delivering therapeutic interventions using a range of  communication approaches such as;

  • Pragmatically Organised Dynamic Display (PODD)
  • Picture Exchange Communication (PECS)
  • Makaton
  • Grid 3
  • Proloquo2go
  • Intensive interaction
  • Social thinking
  • Objects of Reference
  • Touch cues
Sara Passmore - Speech and Language therapy assistant

What is Total Communication:

Total communication is using a range of communication tools to communicate, i.e., speech, writing, drawing, signing, symbols, touch cues, etc. We all use total communication approaches in our day-to-day lives to communicate. This approach, however, can support an individual with speech and language difficulties in communicating to their maximum ability more easily. 

Total Communication Environments:

A total communication environment is an environment that supports an individual in communicating to their best ability as the tools are available to support them in that environment. An example of this would be ensuring that everyone was trained in the use of communication approaches relevant to an individual, i.e. signing, and there were strategies such as symbol visuals available in the environment to support an individual or group of individuals to communicate and interact with their maximum ability. 

We are highly experienced in supporting the development of a total communication environment and delivering training to individual support networks (i.e. in homes, schools, day services, clubs and organisations etc) to support an individual to be able to communicate to their maximum ability in these environments.