AAC and Autism
Did you know...
In the United States, 1 out of 88 children will be diagnosed with autism. Studies indicate that up to 60% of these children will be unable to communicate their wants, needs, and thoughts verbally. According to birthrate statistics reported by the CDC, that means that up to 28,000 children are born each year who will be diagnosed with autism and remain functionally non-verbal.
These kids deserve more!
When an individual has severe speech and/or language disabilities, augmentative and alternative communication strategies can provide them with the opportunity to express themselves. The inability to communicate has a significant impact on the quality of life, educational access, development of social relationships, and the frustration of not being able to communicate can lead to behavior challenges. Any communication other than verbal speech is considered augmentative/alternative communication. There are many types of AAC: gestures, sign language, picture symbols, and speech generating devices
What is the goal of AAC?
For individuals who cannot speak, AAC provides the means to communicate. Communication involves sharing one's needs, desires, humor and thoughts. It allows us to ask questions and interact with those around us. A person relying on AAC as their means of expression needs to be able to spontaneously communicate whatever they desire at any time in any environment. Their AAC method should not limit their ability to express themselves.
Reaching the goal of independent, spontaneous communication is a process that may begin with learning the meaning of one word, progressing to many words, then combining words together to make phrases and sentences. However, when one begins to learn how to communicate with AAC, the beginning steps need to build toward that goal. If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there but if your goal is independent expression, your path is much more limited.