Children with more severe speech and/or language problems often require an assistive means to communicate. We call assistive means Augmentative and Alternatative Communication (AAC). The use of gestures and sign language to supplement speech, and enhance communication, are considered methods of “augmenting” communication. if a child in non-verbal or his/her speech is significantly unintelligible, visual supports are used to augment and also provide an alternative means to support a child’s message. It is important to reassure parents and caregivers that AAC implementation in no way replaces the child’s speech, but rather supports his/her speech and means of communication, and speech is always encouraged first and foremost.
Low tech refers to the use of tangible picture cards, which can be symbols or real photographs, to allow an alternative means for a child to greet, request, comment, and ask questions. Depending on the child’s cognitive and language abilities, some may learn to use a Pragmatic Organization Dynamic Display (PODD) or a high tech display such as “Proloquo 2 Go” on an iPad. AAC systems always require in-depth assessment and trials, in conjunction with family, professionals, school teams, etc.