What is AAC?

Communication is the essence of human interaction and learning.

Effective communication is when the intent and meaning of one individual is understood by another person. This includes communicating for the purposes of:

  • Expressing needs and wants
  • Social closeness
  • Exchanging information
  • Social etiquette
  • Expressing inner thoughts

Many of us communicate verbally, through speech, but this is not an effective mode of communication for some, and that is where AAC comes in!

Using a low-tech PODD combination access (eyegaze and pointing) with modelling by Mummy

Using the Proloquo2go AAC app on an iPad to catch up and share a joke with family

Example of a high-tech eyegaze system with QWERTY keyboard, accessed via a micro switch

Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC)

AAC is a set of tools and strategies that an individual uses to solve everyday communicative challenges. Communication can take many forms such as: speech, a shared glance, text, gestures, facial expressions, touch, sign language, symbols, pictures, pseech-generating devices, etc. Everyone uses multiple forms of communication, based upon the context and our communication partner. Effective communication occurs when the intent and meaning of one individual is understood by another person. This form is less important than the successful understanding of the messasge.

(As described by ISAAC International and Linda J. Burkhart, Technology Integration Specialist.)


Dos and Don'ts

Do refer to this list of 'Do's and Don'ts' when communicating with someone who uses AAC by Lauren Enders, Pat Mervine, Melissa Skocypec, & Cathie VanAlstine.

How do I get started on using AAC?

If you are new to having a communication impairment, you may wish to consider visiting the Enabling Guide by SG Enable, which provides a first-stop resource portal for persons with disabilities and their caregivers, as well as disability professionals looking for information on disability support.

Persons already receiving services from service providers (e.g. social service agencies [SSAs], special education schools, hospitals) can approach their service providers for further information or evaluation for the use of AAC.

If you are not currently receiving regular support from a service provider, you can approach the Specialised Assistive Technology Centre run by SPD:

More about AAC