An augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device is a tool that helps someone with a speech and language impairment to communicate with others more effectively. The devices are commonly used by individuals with conditions like aphasia, apraxia, dysarthria, autism, or a developmental disability.
Since these conditions affect a variety of cognitive and physical abilities, it’s important to recognize all the ways in which these devices can help someone to communicate. Here are four simple ways that someone with a speech and language impairment can communicate using an AAC device.
Four Simple Ways to Communicate Using an AAC Device
Option 1: Tapping on Icons, Words, or Phrases
The first and perhaps most common way to communicate with an AAC device is to tap on icons, words, or phrases that the device then speaks out loud. Most devices come with a built-in library of the most commonly used words and phrases an individual might use throughout the day. Many will even allow you to add your own icons, words, and phrases so that you’re able to communicate about the things that are unique to your life – your dog’s name or your favorite sports team.
Aside from having the device speak these words and phrases out loud, many individuals benefit from hearing what they want to say, and then repeating it with their own voice. Speech therapists sometimes refer to this as verbal cuing.
Option 2: Type and Talk
For individuals who are able to communicate well in writing, the best option is often the type and talk feature. This will often be a faster and more flexible way for the person to communicate than tapping on icons. Just as the name suggests, this allows the device user to type the word or phrase they would like to communicate and have the device say it out loud.
Additionally, many devices offer a built-in predictive text feature that makes finding the right words even easier and faster. So even if the user isn’t the greatest speller, they can quickly get to the word that they need at a moment’s notice.
Option 3: Drawing on the Whiteboard
Many individuals can suffer a communication breakdown when they want to express a thought that isn’t readily available as an icon, or they aren’t able to use the type and talk feature. For these individuals, drawing a word or picture on the digital whiteboard can be a wonderful way to communicate with others.
Since many individuals also suffer from comprehension deficits, the whiteboard can be an equally good way for a friend or loved one to communicate back at them. They can quickly and easily draw images and write out keywords to improve comprehension.
Option 4: Using the Picture Gallery
Finally, many individuals find the old adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” to be true of communicating via an AAC device as well. Many use the picture gallery to share images they’d like to communicate with others: their favorite meals, outdoor hobbies, a preferred hairstyle, and so on.
Many individuals also use the picture gallery by showing images in a sequence that tell a specific story like a tour or excursion from a recent family vacation, or to simply communicate to a loved one what the day was like.
As you can see, there are several great ways that individuals with speech and language impairments can use an AAC device to communicate regardless of physical or cognitive impairments they may be experiencing.
If you’d like to learn more about how a Lingraphica AAC communication device can help you or someone you know, visit the link below to schedule a free consultation.