Programs To Help Nonverbal Special Needs Kids
Today we are going to answer your frequently asked questions about AAC, or augmentative and alternative communication.
What Is Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
Augmentative and alternative communication means any way of communicating without speech, such as sign language, paper-based systems, pictures, or our iPad based system. Our iPad system is customizable, which is why we like it so much!
One question we frequently get from parents is, “Will my child benefit from AAC usage?” This is a great question. Sometimes parents ask this question because they wonder if their child uses an AAC system, will they not be motivated to use verbal speech? Also, parents often wonder if their child is too young to use an AAC device.
What Research Have Proven
Research has proven that AAC therapy improves natural speech when using a multimodal approach—which means using all of our AAC resources plus verbal speech. Therapy using AAC for minimally verbal school-age children on the autism spectrum can help spontaneous speech output and verbal speech, compared to therapy that does not use AAC. In other words, if your child uses an AAC system or device in therapy, they will still be motivated to use verbal speech. In fact, AAC will help them to use verbal speech!
When Should My Child Start AAC?
As for whether or not a child is too young, the earlier you begin AAC implementation, the better the outcome. AAC use in young children is associated with increased vocabulary and grammar development.
Using AAC can also help decrease difficult behavior associated with frustration or communication breakdowns, which is something we see almost daily in children who cannot verbalize their wants and needs. AAC is a means to help your child communicate now and to get their needs yet while they do not have verbal speech.
Your Next Step
Next time we’ll talk to you about how you can get the most benefit out of an AAC device, and give you some tips on how to use it with your child. Stay tuned!