Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) are the words used to describe extra ways of helping people who find it hard to communicate by speech or writing. AAC helps them to communicate more easily. AAC refers to ways (other than speech) that are used to send a message from one person to another.
Anyone who finds it very difficult to communicate by just speech may be helped by using AAC. Lots of different AAC methods are used by people of all ages, with physical or learning difficulties. Some people use AAC just to communicate. Other people use AAC to help them understand what is being said to them.
The problem however is that often people make judgements about a persons intellectual ability because they see them using AAC technologies!
Some people need to use AAC because of something that happened when they were born – people with cerebral palsy or learning disabilities. Other people start to use AAC when they are older. This can be because they have had a stoke or a brain injury or a disease.
So what about students in your institution who need or who use AAC technologies? Find out more about the issues by watching a webcast created by student Beth Anne Luciani and academic staff from California University of Pennsylvania who describes the benefits and the challenges of academic life for individuals who use AAC.