AAC — Augmentative and Alternative Communication
The term AAC refers to all forms of communication (not oral speech) that is used to express self. We all use AAC when we make facial expressions or gestures or even write. People with severe speech problems rely on AAC to help their existing speech that may not be functional. Aids like pictures and symbol communication boards as well as computerized devices help people express their needs and wants. Improved social interaction and school performance as well as increased self esteem. AAC devices enhance communication. An excellent resource for the AAC community is AAC Institute. During the Assistive Technology course presented by Teresa Westerbur, various AAC device vendors come in the afternoon to provide hands-on experiences with attendees.
Pictured is the Freedom Toughbook from Words+ utilizing the software EZ Keys (a text based software for communication and writing).
High tech refers to technology that more complex, possibly in electronic form, may need additional training and set-up. This technology is best acquired through special funding and evaluation processes to meet the needs of each individual. Examples of high tech technology would be AAC devices, electric wheelchairs, alerting devices, screen readers and magnifiers, text to speech, voice recognition, mouse and keyboard alternatives and many others.
Pictured is an eye tracking device that attaches to an AAC device or computer allowing the user to utilize eye gaze for navigating on the screen and provided by EyeTech DS
This is more simple technology or tools that can be fabricated or are more inexpensive allowing individuals to access devices or meet needs for independence in various tasks. It doesn’t require as much training and examples are handheld magnifiers, large print text, canes, reachers, specialized pencil grips, spell checkers, naual wheelchairs, amplifiers etc.
This is TalkingBrix by AbleNet. Simple to use, compact, integrated rechargeable batteries, and 10-seconds of record time in each TalkingBrix. Connect all three to form a multi-message dedicated speech generating device or break them apart to use individually.
Items in this category are unique in that they vary from a universal cuff and pencil grip to improve grasp to the picture exchange system on a communication board or in a book allowing an individual to communicate effectively when appropriate.
Resources (to come)