Augmentative and alternative communication, or AAC, is a term that's used to describe various methods of communication that can help people who are unable to use verbal speech to communicate. AAC methods vary and may be personalized to meet each individual's needs.
Any person with a disability where it's difficult for them to communicate may benefit from AAC. Some people need AAC only for a short time, while others may use it throughout their lives.
AAC allows an individual to express their needs and wants, and more fully participate in decisions that affect their lives. AAC also benefits family members and other significant others, providing a way for them to more fully communicate with their loved ones.
Many different AAC methods are used by people of all ages with various physical or learning difficulties.
Speech-generating devices, or SGDs, produce electronic voice output, allowing the individual to communicate. These portable electronic devices allow him or her to select letters, words, and messages, alone or in combination, to be spoken aloud in a pre-recorded or computer-generated voice (text-to-speech).
When an individual is unable to use their hands to access the device, they are still able to generate speech using one or more alternate methods:
The speed and pattern of these methods can be customized to accommodate the user's age, familiarity with the device, etc.