Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Cook and Hussey (2008) define augmentative and alternative communication as “an area of clinical practice designed to ameliorate the communication problems of people who have severe speech and language impairments across the age span.”  More simply put, AAC refers to all forms of communication that can be used to share ideas, make friends, and express needs and wants (Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Communication Enhancement, AAC-RERC).  There are a wide variety of AAC techniques and devices including picture, symbol, alphabet and word boards; signs and gestures; and speech generating devices.  The term AAC system refers to all the means and modes a person uses to communicate including the use of both AAC and mainstream approaches to communication (Cook & Hussey 2008).