Through our series of blogs on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), we have reviewed the benefits of AAC and the various options available.
A lot of research and development has been carried out on the topic in recent years. However, there are still some common misconceptions surrounding the subject. In this blog, we will explore and understand five of the most common AAC myths.
1. AAC is only for individuals who don’t use mouth words
Individuals of any ability can use AAC. It is not exclusive to those who don’t communicate using mouth words. AAC is also beneficial for those with limited mouth words (spoken words), unclear speech or for any person who’s spoken language is unreliable.
2. AAC limits language development
This is a common myth surrounding AAC, that a child may rely too heavily on their AAC system and not want to speak.
However, this is not the case. Research on the subject has found the opposite.
AAC can support literacy development and mouth words as it gives a child the tools they need to participate in conversations and gives them consistent access to the vocabulary they need.
3. There are prerequisites to using AAC
When it comes to using AAC, there are no prerequisite skills needed (e.g. being able to point or presenting with a certain IQ). A child does not need to prove they are ready for AAC or present with certain skills to be eligible. While this may have been the case in the 1980s when the subject was new, thanks to recent research, we know that anyone who needs AAC can use AAC.
4. High-tech AAC is better than light-tech AAC
The type of AAC used, high-tech or light-tech, depends on the child and the resources available.
Both options have benefits, but neither one is better than the other.
While high-tech AAC, such as touch screen devices or apps, offers more options and customisation, light-tech AAC, such as communication books, are a more durable, cost-effective option that puts more emphasis on human interaction. The right AAC tool depends on the child using it.
5. Children must be at a certain age before using AAC
There is no age requirement for using AAC. The research suggests that AAC should be introduced as soon as possible to support language development, literacy and mastery of the new system; however, it is also never too late to start. AAC is accessible and adaptable for all ages and abilities.
AAC can be extremely beneficial for anyone facing communication difficulties using mouth words. The tools available are accessible, adaptable and customisable depending on the user to ensure that anyone can begin to feel confident in using AAC and building their communication skills.