Augmentative Communication

Augmentative Communication (AC) is the implementation of gestures, sign language, photographs, communication boards with icons, and voice output “talkers” to supplement the child’s communicative attempts.  AC is not a replacement for speech as the child is encouraged to produce a speech approximation when using AC.  Research shows that the use of AC not only enhances the child’s ability to communicate, but also facilitates the development of functional speech skills.

When to implement AC:

1. To support the acquisition of expressive language skills:
  • When there is a “gap” between what the child understands and what she can express intelligibly;
  • To help the child retrieve a word with a visual cue; this can decrease frustration and encourage the child to persist with her communicative efforts
2. To provide supplemental visual cues:
  • Schedules:  What’s going to happen and in what order;
  • Aid with weak receptive language and auditory processing;
  • Provide suggestions for play; support the development of expanded ideation (What’s going to happen next?  Where are they going to go?”);
3. To help establish and maintain a more continuous flow of back-and-forth interaction.

Diane Lewis, MA, CCC-SLP is knowledgeable in sign language and provides excellent support in the fabrication of photographs and/ or icons (Boardmaker).  Diane Lewis, MA, CCC-SLP has a Go-Talk to evaluate the efficacy of voice output.