AAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Parents of individuals with autism or an education or speech professional who works with the autism community know that communication can be a challenge. Some individuals may not develop spoken language, while others have well-developed vocabularies, but are challenged with trying to use the vocabulary.

AAC is a term used to describe a range of communication tools used to supplement, facilitate, or replace natural speech. It can be considered “low-tech” as in writing and communication boards/books or “high-tech” as in voice output communication devices, and sign language.

With the availability of applications that can be used on various tablets and phone systems (iPads, iPhones, Android phones and tablets)

In 1988, the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act mandated states set up programs to help people with disabilities understand their rights under this law and to gain access to assistive technology. The Protection and Advocacy website has publications listing the requirements of different agencies to provide funding for assistive technology.

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Thank you to the California Communication Access Foundation

Thank you to the California Communication Access Foundation for helping fund our “Adventures in Communicating” projects for this year.  These projects including a mini-camp held this summer in which over 70 children, parents and professionals learned how to communicate using a variety of AAC strategies.  In addition, we are working on brochures in English and Spanish to explain what is it, funding resources and training resources; and a free workshop to educators demonstrating easy ways to include it in a classroom.  Thank you!

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AAC Resources

The Autism Society has compiled a list of resources for those who are interested in getting financial help to purchase an iPad.

The Autism Society Inland Empire is happy to make “Our Favorite iPad Apps for Special Needs Children” available for no charge. It has over 100 apps that we think are a great place to start if you just purchased an ipad. Most apps are free or low cost and come highly recommended by other parents and professionals. The resource has a table of contents and an index, making apps easy to find.

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2012 Inland Empire AAC Survey

The results of the AAC Survey are in!  Some of the results we found were:

  • 27% of individuals with ASD can not request their most basic needs
  • 28% can not request wants
  • 47% can not answer questions
  • 75% can not have a question
  • 77% can not communicate in the community
  • 78% of professionals and 72% of families believe that using AAC can make a large impact
  • Only 33% of professionals have received training on AAC in the last year.  More than half (58%) of family members and 45% of professionals have never received training on AAC.

2012_FINALSURVEY  Thank you to the California Communications Access Foundation for funding this project!

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