Started by ISAAC (International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication) in 2007, AAC Awareness Month runs throughout October each year and is celebrated by numerous countries around the world. The goal is to raise awareness of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and to inform the public about the many different ways in which people communicate using communication tactics or communication devices.

What is AAC?

The general term for communication methods that replace speech, or are used in addition to speech.

Augment means to add or increase. We can ‘augment’ speech by using body language, facial expressions, vocalisations, gestures and eye pointing. Alternative means ‘a substitute for’ such as pointing to symbols, signing, spelling or using an electronic device. Communication means to share information with others.

There are two ‘main’ types of AAC:

  1.    Unaided communication
  • signing,
  • eye pointing
  • body language

These do not rely on the use of equipment.

  1.    Aided communication
  • paper and pencil
  • communication books/boards
  • electronic systems
  • speech generating devices

Benefits of AAC

Allows users to:

  • express their wants and needs
  • have more control over decisions that affect their lives
  • inclusion & participation in community / family / relationships and all areas of life
  • decrease their frustration
  • be heard as an individual and have their own say
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