Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC)

What is AAC and how can it help?

AAC stands for Alternative and Augmentative Communication and refers to systems that aid communication for people who cannot use their voice.

The most well-known example of an AAC system is used by Stephen Hawking, but there are versions with much larger pictures and even ones with objects of reference for people who cannot see the pictures at all.

People that require AAC often have additional needs and AAC systems can be operated from input systems such as sip and puff, eye gaze, large buttons or wheelchair-mounted touch screen interfaces.

AAC systems are designed to enable communication with hearing people so they output speech.

What should I look for in AAC devices?

It is highly recommended that anyone requiring an AAC device undertakes an assessment to check which kind will be of the most use.

As a communication aid, an AAC device will be used constantly so it must be tailored to the user to ensure it is easy and comfortable to use.

You can read more about AAC on the Communication Matters and AbilityNet websites.

Possible stockists

Please note: the following list is not exhaustive and Sense is not responsible for the content of external sites nor do we endorse the products mentioned.

Hearing Products International
Inclusive Technology
Sensory Software

First published: Wednesday 23 May 2012
Updated: Monday 1 June 2015