At the most basic level, AAC is anything that supports communication when traditional methods aren’t sufficient, (Cress, 2011). AAC can involve “unaided” personal tools such as signed language or facial expressions, or “aided” external tools like a speech-generating device. It includes a range of technologies, such as “low-tech” pictures and books, to “high-tech” apps and software. We often talk about AAC as the “formal” system a communicator learns, such as picture symbols. However, AAC can – and usually should- be “multimodal,” which takes advantage of a variety of tools that are available to the individual.
AAC users typically have complex needs and some may have very basic communication skills. Even given this higher level of need, telepractice can be an effective way to support these individuals. Emerging literature suggests that telepractice can be used to assess, improve the language skills of, and teach new technology to AAC users. Tele-services may include a variety of interactions such as direct intervention, coaching parents and teachers, and consulting with other professionals.
Cress, C.J. (2011) Providing Culturally-Responsive Services to Individuals with Severe Disabilities. Presentation at the Bilingual Therapies Symposium, July 2011, San Juan, Puerto Rico.