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Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

AAC stands for augmentative and alternative communication. AAC includes all of the ways to communicate without using verbal speech.

We all use AAC everyday (waving, pointing, using facial expressions, etc.).

Children who are not speaking benefit from the implementation of robust AAC communication systems on speech-generating devices (similar to iPads or tablets). At Two Trees, we can help determine which AAC system is best for your child, help you obtain funding through insurance for these programs, and provide training on how to use them.

Some common misconceptions about AAC:

“AAC will stop them from talking verbally.”

First and foremost, we want to focus on total communication and helping a child communicate
in whatever way they can! Also, it has been documented in multiple research studies, and in
clinical practice, that AAC actually supports verbal speech development. Many people will make
more sounds or even say more words verbally when they start using AAC.

“AAC is a replacement of verbal speech.”
Verbal speech and AAC are not mutually exclusive. Again, we want to support a child’s communication in any way that we can, which means providing them with many different opportunities and tools to communicate. AAC can be used in addition to a child’s verbal speech. It is an effective and important “tool” in their “toolbox.”

 “A child needs to be at a certain cognitive-level to use AAC.”
There are no prerequisites to communication. AAC is used successfully with people of varying intellectual abilities. Anybody can make progress with AAC when given consistent access to the program and when caregivers are given appropriate training.


“Common Myths About AAC and Real Truths” by Susan Berkowitz
“10 Things You May Not Know About AAC” by PrAACtical AAC