Barriers to Success with any Augmentative or Alternative Communication System (AAC)

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Augmentative or Alternative Communication systems (AAC) are any means a child can use to communicate that is not using speech. Frequently families and communities of children with disability have to overcome barriers to the success of AAC. AAC do not have to exclude the use of speech but often act as stepping stones to functional speech.

​SpeechNet is committed to support your child to achieve the most functional communication system possible for you and your child.

Verbal attempts can always be coupled with AAC implementation. However, families, carers and educators need to be on the same page with the same HIGH level of commitment to achieve positive outcomes when AAC is implemented. Funding options such as NDIS funds can assist with the intensity needed to overcome barriers to success.

​Use of AAC needs to part of the child’s Every day and Every Communication for children with any form of disability or reason for significant speech difficulties!

​Communication opportunities that children without disability or speech disorder are exposed to is enormous and begins from birth. Language and verbal interactions occurs for many hours before they start to speak.

​Think about how many hours children have spent hearing and learning language even before they start to speak. They have heard and used the language even more before they enter school and have to use this language to learn. This is something for people supporting a child who needs an AAC system need to think very carefully about.

​If families or educators expect children to start using AAC systems soon after they are implemented, everyone will be disappointed.

Just like children need to be spoken to by an adult to learn how to speak, adults working with a child using an AAC system have to make it a part of their way of communication with the child.

Evidence indicates people who are largely non-verbal need to be presented a minimum of 200 opportunities a day to interact (Caulfield & Carillo, 2010)

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Funding support for AAC (NDIS plans)

​People who use or need AAC will need to have a plan which details their needs both for equipment and services

​The plan should encompass assessments needed relating to high and low tech, or aided and unaided systems, trials and training. Often people with AAC needs may need to try several different systems and types of equipment to get the best system for their specific needs.

​Families of children with disability need to determine the specific devices that can be funded by sources such as NDIS. The plan needs to include

  • assessment time (e.g. observation of child’s communication/use of devices in school, home, clinic)
  • the intervention time to set up systems and begin implementation
  • training of the person in the communication system and training and practice for them and the people in their lives in the communication system.
  • Purchase of devices within the NDIS approvals
SpeechNet staff are happy to discuss the expressive language development and needs of your child whether they will need an AAC system or speech development skills.
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62 Nursery Road, Holland Park West QLD 4124 Australia 

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