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Practical Perspective: AAC Awareness Month

 

Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) includes all forms of communication (other than oral speech) used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas.

Have you thought about the communication strategies you have engaged in today? Take a minute to consider it. Whether it was a facial expression, a gesture, pointing to something outside, sharing a video, or writing a note for a student’s backpack, we all use AAC in several forms throughout our day.

Our communication needs aren’t all that different from those we support who rely on AAC tools and strategies as a regular part of their day. We simply pause a moment, think about what it is that we want to say and how best to say it, and then we say it. For an individual with complex communication needs, he must hope that his speech and language therapist programmed the vocabulary word or words he wants to say, hope that the teacher will stand by his desk long enough for him to reach his device to activate it, and hope that a parent or caregiver charged his device last night and turned it on this morning so it’s ready for him to use to relay his thoughts and ideas today.

October truly is one of my favorite months. This is for a couple of reasons. Not only has autumn, one of the most colorful seasons begun in Wisconsin, but International AAC Awareness Month is celebrated around the world in October. In honor of this special month, I wanted to share with you a few resources that will guide you on your journey to support one or more individuals with complex communication needs.

Visit one of these websites for more information during AAC Awareness Month: www.ussaac.org and www.isaac-online.org. Another incredible site to help you to create a path to obtaining access to AAC devices and services is www.aacfundinghelp.com, established by Lew Golinker at the Assistive Technology Law Center. Thank you to Lew and his team for their efforts in helping all of us better understand the maze for funding a speech-generating device. Speaking of thanks, in November, I will share my ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ ideas for the many teams who support individuals with communication needs. Stay tuned!

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