What is Augmentative & Alternative Communication?  

AAC is the use of strategies or tools to compensate for a severe communication disorder in order to enhance the individual’s ability to participate in life’s activities.

For whom is AAC appropriate?

AAC should be considered for anyone with a severe speech-language disorder for whom speaking and writing is insufficient to meet communication needs. These could be children with delayed or disordered speech and language, perhaps due to autism, apraxia of speech, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, genetic syndrome, or traumatic accident. AAC is also appropriate for adults with acquired speech and language disorders such as aphasia, apraxia or severe dysarthria due to a stroke, traumatic injury or degenerative disease.

What AAC services are available at the Speech & Hearing Clinic?  

The UWSHC offers AAC assessment and intervention for both children and adults. Following best practices in AAC, our focus is on multi-modal communication, relying on a combination of strategies with and without technology. The common tools include specialized communication devices or mobile technology (e.g. iPads, tablets, cell phones with apps) as well as non-technology communication displays and notebooks, always used in conjunction with expressive speech and writing, when possible. The goal is to enhance the individual’s ability to participate in family, educational, community and recreational activities despite the underlying impairment.

How do I apply for AAC services at the UW Speech & Hearing Clinic? 

The application process is somewhat different depending on the age of the individual. Please follow the relevant links below, noting the general processes for intake and assessment which are still relevant for those seeking AAC services:

For pediatric clients, please select from the following pages:

Child with Receptive and/or Expressive Language Disorders

Child with Speech Sound Errors

For adult clients, please select from the following pages:

Adult with Aphasia

Adult with Apraxia of Speech

Adult with Dysarthria

Associated Faculty

Patricia Dowden, PhD, CCC-SLP - Senior Lecturer and Supervisor; Researcher
Tanna Neufeld, MS, CCC-SLP - Lecturer and Clinical Supervisor

Additional Resources

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

International Society of Augmentative & Alternative Communication