October is International AAC Awareness Month, which was started in 2007 by ISAAC (International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication), and this year the theme is “Bringing Us Together”. To find out more about ISAAC and what is being done this year to raise awareness visit this site:
For International AAC Awareness Month we are hosting our first film night of the year, showing The Theory of Everything on the 5th October! Also we are going to put on a treasure hunt which will involve using AAC to complete the clues on October the 14th! More details on Facebook and Twitter.
What is AAC?
AAC stands for Augmentative and Alternative Communication and it is used as a way to replace speech or to support speech in individuals with communication difficulties. AAC can also be used to help these individuals to understand what others are saying if they use AAC as they speak. There is a whole host of types of AAC devices which fall under four categories; no-tech, low-tech, light-tech and high-tech.
No-Tech AAC – also known as ‘unaided’ systems due to not involving any additional equipment. Examples include signing, facial expressions and eye gaze.
Low-Tech AAC – these are ‘aided’ systems as they use additional equipment that does not require batteries. Examples include picture or object communication, PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) or communication charts.
Light-Tech AAC – these are ‘aided’ systems that require the use of batteries. Examples include voice output systems that have unchanging displays.
High-Tech AAC – these are ‘aided’ systems that require a power source. An example is an ipad with an app installed (such as VoiceSymbol).
AAC devices have to be carefully matched to those who will use them based on their needs, abilities and of course their preferences.
Who uses AAC?
AAC is really versatile and can be adapted to the individual and so it can be used by a variety of people with communication difficulties:
- Individuals with learning disabilities.
- Individuals with cerebral palsy.
- Individuals with motor neurone disease.
- Individuals with autism.
- Individuals who have suffered a stroke or head injury.
- Individuals with muscular dystrophy.
- Individuals with Down Syndrome (October is also Down Syndrome Awareness Month – we will be posting a blog about this later in October so come back to see that! – http://www.ndss.org)
and many more.
Want more information?
The following websites helped to provided the information for this blog. If you want to find out more be sure to visit them!
Also if possible I would really recommend attending an AAC SIG. I learnt so much at the one I attended and it had a really great atmosphere.
UCL Giving Voice Committee