- Augment means to add to or to enhance. For example, we can all augment speech by using gestures, body language, facial expressions. Individuals with communcation disorders who cannot be understand by speech alone, should augment their speech to be better communicators.
- Alternative means a choice or a substitute. Alternative communication consists of using other means like pointing to symbols, “clicking” on pictures, signing or spelling to communicate.
- According to ASHA, by recent estimates, over 2 million people who with significant expressive language impairments use (AAC). This is, of course, because they have difficulty communicating via traditional means (speech!)
- Although some parents worry that AAC may hinder their child from communicating orally, numerous studies have found that the introduction of AAC usually has a positive affect on speech; children who are given AAC often develop speech faster than they would have otherwise (Bodine & Beukelman, 1991).
- IN FACT, the introduction of AAC correlates with the improvement of natural speech—-even in situations in which no speech therapy has been given. (Berry, 1987; Daniels, 1994; Romski & Sevcik, 1993; Konstantareas, 1984; Silverman, 1980).
- Here’s some added bonuses: Studies have shown that children who use AAC have shown improvements in behavior, attention, independence, self-confidence, class participation, academic progress and social interaction (Abrahamsen, Romski & Sevcik, 1989; Silverman, 1980; Van Tatenhove, 1987)
It’s not perfect and it’s not made for every child, but for many children, in my experience (especially those who cannot obtain expensive technology), it has been a great solution. It’s a great start for many. For ME, it has been a great solution in therapy because it’s fast, easy, and functional.
Now back to the blog hop…
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Happy Better Speech & Hearing Month!
Keep putting words in those mouths!