Give Every Child a Voice: Augmentative and Alternative Communication

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It’s October and this means its National Augmentative and Alternative Communication month!  Augmentative and Alternative Communication, or AAC, is a method for children who are unable to speak, have a say in their thoughts, feelings, wants and needs.

AAC comes in different forms including:

Unaided: relying on the user’s body to convey messages. This includes gestures, body language, and/or sign language.

Aided:  require the use of tools or equipment in addition to the user’s body. Aided communication methods can range from paper and pencil to communication books or boards to devices that produce voice output (speech generating devices or SGD’s) and/or written output. Electronic communication aids allow the user to use picture symbols, letters, and/or words and phrases to create messages. Some devices can be programmed to produce different spoken languages.

When a child is unable to express their wants and needs through their own voice, they may benefit from an AAC device.  This method of communication helps reduce the frustrations of not only the child, but also the parent.  It gives the child a “voice.” There are different methods of AAC devices your child may be suitable for and choosing the right method is an important process.

If you have any questions regarding AAC and feel that it may benefit your child, please contact our speech/language department at the following locations:

  • Beaumont Medical Center (West Bloomfield): 248-855-4480
  • Beaumont Health Center (Royal Oak): 248-655-5975
  • Neighborhood Club (St. Clair Shores): 313-473-4730

—David G. Schneider, M.A., CCC-SLP

Local Event: There is also a fun filled event for individuals who use any type of AAC, their family and friends.  Volunteers from The Art Experience in Pontiac will lead some amazing art activities to celebrate communication through art.  Come and  create,  communicate and socialize with peers and new friends!

When: Saturday, October 26th, 2013

Where: Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan/Children’s Hospital Novi Center

42005 W 12 Mile Road, Novi  48377

 Time: 1:00- 4:00pm; art activities will run from 1:00-3:00 pm

 Please RSVP to pnizio@dmc.org or 313-832-8939

3 Responses to “Give Every Child a Voice: Augmentative and Alternative Communication”


  1. 1 Anonymous October 10, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Thank you for this great information! Very helpful!

  2. 2 Christina Dobbs October 10, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    My 4 yr old son is a current patient at the Neighborhood Club and suffers from severe Apraxia, currently has no words and was told he may never speak. We currently have an ipad but have no idea what apps or other devices might benefit him. Or the $200-$300 to purchase the app/device. We would be grateful for any information on how to find an ACC for our son.

    • 3 David G. Schneider, M.A., CCC-SLP October 15, 2013 at 10:17 pm

      Hello Mrs. Dobbs,

      We see many children with this diagnosis and our heart goes out to them. AAC has been a great tool to help enhance communication in children with childhood apraxia. Where I would start is your child’s speech pathologist. They will be able to determine if your child is able to benefit from AAC. AAC comes in many different forms and one method may be more beneficial than another. The app I have been comfortable using is “touch chat.” Now, its an expensive app (ranging from $150 to $300) so I wouldn’t go and buy it just yet. The Ipads at all of our sites (West Bloomfield, Neighborhood Club, and Royal Oak) have the touch chat application. Touch chat is a user friendly application that may help enhance your child’s communication. I like to think of it as a “virtual” communication board.
      In terms of other apps that may benefit your child, there are many to choose from. When searching for apps in itunes, I would search “apraxia” or “motor speech.” This will give you a good start. Read over the reviews from other customers, that will be a big help!
      If you would like further assistance, I would be more than happy to discuss this further with you. I am currently at the Beaumont Health Center. Their number is: 248.655.5975
      I hope this information helps! Take care!

      David G. Schneider, M.A., CCC-SLP


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