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AAC Devices for Autism

Updated: 5 days ago





AAC stands for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (RCSLT, 2023). 

AAC includes all types of languages except speech language- sign language, language boards, body language, various innovative tools, it thereby adds to an individual's ability to express themselves via different forms of communication. 


This article focuses on different types of AAC devices and how they help an autistic child.


What is autism? 


Autism is one of a group of serious developmental problems called autism spectrum disorders (ASD) that appear in early childhood — usually before age 3. 

Though symptoms and severity vary, all autistic conditions affect an individual's ability to communicate and interact with others.


A child with autism faces difficulty in three main domains: social interaction, behavior, and learning.


There is a broad range of AAC devices from no using no technology and low technology to high technology.


Different types of AAC


Infographic image one Types of AAC
Image credit- jdb speech

There are various types of AAC, for instance it can be a paper with a picture of words printed on it, to an electronic tablet that serves as a voice.


No-tech to Low-tech options include- Low-Tech AAC Systems don’t require much technology at all.  Children can use gestures or sign language to communicate or point to pictures on a piece of paper. 


  • Gestures and facial expressions like nodding shaking head or pointing at objects 

  • Writing,

  • Drawing,

  • Spelling words by pointing to letters, and

  • Pointing to photos, pictures, or written word- The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

  • Sign Language

  • Simple picture boards

  • Pen and paper

  • Letter boards

  • Communication Books



High-tech devices offer different choices to a child based on the options the keys they press, they also provide sound for the options chosen.

High- tech devices include- 

  1. Using an app on an iPad or tablet to communicate and

  2. Using a computer with a “voice," sometimes called a speech-generating device.

  3. Various apps that can be downloaded on a device


Myths and Misconceptions


There are many benefits of AAC devices, however they are often misunderstood.


  1. AAC Devices are only for nonverbal children AAC devices can be quite helpful when it comes to helping a child who has developed speech, for instance, when you provide a child with speech with CORE BOARD, they will be able to communicate better. It provides them visual aid when they have difficulty in finding the correct word to express themselves.

  2. My child will not learn to speak if they use an AAC device Research shows using visual aid doesn't slow down speech development, instead it helps the child develop speech faster.

  3. My child will have to use an AAC forever Dependence on an AAC device is not permanent, a child can always stop using aid once they are able to communicate properly, until and unless they need it to communicate better in certain situations.

  4. Using an AAC device with my child will be too difficult Whenever we learn a new device it isn't easy at the beginning but parents need to be patient and rather than being scared make an attempt at learning about AAC. If it is too intimidating you can take help of a Speech Language pathologist/ Speech therapist who can guide you regarding AAC devices and help you implement them with your child.



How to Implement an AAC


It is obvious that an AAC can be quite intimidating on first try, but once you understand it it's very easy, and when you see your child being able to communicate better the joy makes the learning process worth it. You can always take additional help from a Speech therapist.



When using high-tech systems, we can choose different levels. We can start with one page of choices, but as the child increases communication skills, the screen opens up to additional pre-made phrases.


We have worked with various parents and they are always so excited to see their little ones making progress at communication, when their child is able to say things like ‘eat’, ‘go’, and even progress to longer statements like ‘ I want to go’ or ‘I don't like this’.



Why AAC is so Beneficial


There is growing evidence for the potential benefits of AAC for children with autism

  • AAC devices are life-changing- for a child who's unable to use voice to communicate, having visual aid can be very helpful. 

  • It helps teach consent, kids can now express when they don’t want something, they can tell their parents when something happens at school that upsets them.

  • It is a great tool even for those who are verbal. 

  • AAC can be helpful for children who are visual learners. If you provide them with a picture showing what they want or what they feel, they will be able to express it better. 



Help your child communicate better with help from Sounderic

We provide the best evidence- based treatment available. Our speech language pathologists are highly trained and have years of clinical experience.


Children with Autism are different, not less in any way!

Think of difference rather than deficit; unique rather than abnormal.



Sounderic provides online speech therapy sessions for children with various communication disorders. We would love to help you. Get in touch with us on WhatsApp at +919644466635 or schedule a consultation with us at https://www.sounderic.com/service-page/speech-language-consultation-for-kids?referral=service_list_widget



Follow us on Facebook, and Instagram or join our community of 18,000 parents from all across the world here, "Speech therapy guide for parents".





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