Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) refers to any form of communication that improves, supports or even replaces speech and writing. AAC communication includes electronic and nonelectronic communication aids.
AAC systems can be as simple as a set of pictures, or as complicated as electronic speech devices. AAC also includes strategies children and families can use together, for better communication.
Some children struggle with speech because of language development delays. Others have physical limitations or thinking and learning disabilities that make spoken language difficult or impossible. Adults can have speech or language difficulties due to disabilities that began during childhood.
AAC tests and devices can help anyone who has trouble speaking or communicating. Kids who benefit from AAC often have the following conditions:
An AAC evaluation involves:
During an AAC evaluation:
After an AAC evaluation, we make recommendations based on your child’s needs. We might suggest your child:
Regardless of test outcomes, we’ll help you address your child’s communication needs on an ongoing basis as their skills change and as technology advances.
Before your child can receive an AAC evaluation at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, they need an order from a health care provider. The provider might be from Gillette or a different facility.
Once we receive the order, we’ll contact you to set up an evaluation. We’ll also give you a questionnaire to complete and return before your visit.
Find more resources to help you prepare for a visit to Gillette.
If your child struggles with speech or communication due to a complex condition or disability, AAC devices and therapy programs might help. The Gillette AAC team includes speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, and assistive technology specialists who are experts in their fields.
Working closely with you, our providers will test your child’s skills and needs, then recommend programs to help them communicate using both electronic and nonelectronic AAC devices. We also design custom mounts, and educate your entire family about effective communication strategies.
Each of your child’s providers at Gillette has a deep understanding of the way complex conditions such as cerebral palsy and brain injury affect speech and communication. To bring the most advanced techniques and equipment to more families, we offer our rehabilitation therapy services and engineering consultations at convenient clinics in the Twin Cities and throughout greater Minnesota.