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AAC, Holidays

Celebrating AAC Awareness Month: Communication for All

Patricia Masello

October is here, and it’s time to celebrate AAC Awareness Month! 🎊 But wait, you might be thinking, what is AAC? πŸ€”

TL;DR: AAC stands for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. It’s a powerful set of tools that include different methods to help people express themselves when spoken words are not enough or spoken words are not possible. Communication is a human right, and AAC plays a significant role in ensuring that everyone can exercise that right.

AAC can include:

  1. Communication Boards: These visual aids feature symbols, pictures, or words to assist individuals in conveying their thoughts, needs, and feelings.
  2. Communication Apps: Mobile or tablet (like an iPad) applications designed to support communication by offering text-to-speech, symbol-to-speech, or picture-to-speech features.
  3. Sign Language (like American Sign Language – ASL): A rich and expressive non-verbal language that uses hand signs, facial expressions, and body movements to communicate.
  4. ANY tool other than spoken words: Augmentative and Alternative Communication encompasses any method or tool that aids communication, ensuring that every individual has a means to express themselves.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication plays a crucial role in empowering individuals to engage with the world and express their thoughts, needs, and emotions. So, as a speech therapist, I am proud to advocate for and put AAC strategies into practice that help my clients find their voices and participate more fully in their communities. Whether it’s utilizing a communication app on a tablet, a communication board, Sign Language, writing, or a combination of these, the goal is the same – to communicate more easily and connect others around them!

Also, AAC is NOT limited by age or condition! In fact, it is a flexible and inclusive set of tools that can support different group and conditions:

  • Autism: Children and adults with autism often find AAC incredibly helpful in expressing themselves and connecting with others. Why? Because spoken words may not always be accessible.
  • Birth to Five: Early intervention with AAC can support toddlers and young children with language development during the ages their brains are growing the fastest. In fact, there is evidence that AAC can SUPPORT speech development too!
  • School-Age Children: AAC can be a great tool for students ensuring they can actively participate in school.
  • Teens and Adults: Augmentative and Alternative Communication is not just for kids. It can empower teenagers and adults with various communication difficulties, from speech disorders to acquired conditions like aphasia.
  • Aging Population: As people age, they may face communication challenges. AAC can help bridge the gap!
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): People with TBI can struggle with speech and memory, making AAC an invaluable tool for their recovery and rehabilitation.

Summing up: Communication is a human right, and AAC plays a significant role in ensuring that everyone can exercise that right. Together, we can raise awareness about AAC, promote accessibility, and champion the cause of “Communication For All.”

Join the conversation this October with the hashtags #AACAwarenessMonth, #CommunicationForAll, and #AACAccessibility to share your support! πŸ“£πŸŒπŸ’¬ Check out our IG page for more posts on this topic!

Interested in personalized support for you or your loved one related to this topic? Get in touch! πŸ˜€

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