Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

What is AAC?

Speech Image - 5Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) includes all forms of communication (other than oral speech) that are used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas. We all use AAC when we make facial expressions or gestures, use symbols or pictures, or write.

People with severe speech or language problems rely on AAC to supplement existing speech or replace speech that is not functional. Special augmentative aids, such as picture and symbol communication boards and electronic devices, are available to help people express themselves. This may increase social interaction, school performance, and feelings of self-worth.

AAC users should not stop using speech if they are able to do so. The AAC aids and devices are used to enhance their communication.Speech Image - 6

What are the types of AAC systems?

Speech Image - 7When children or adults cannot use speech to communicate effectively in all situations, there are options.

Unaided communication systems – rely on the user's body to convey messages. Examples include gestures, body language, and/or sign language.

Aided communication systems – require the use of tools or equipment in addition to the user's body. Aided communication methods can range from paper and pencil to communication books or boards to devices that produce voice output (speech generating devices or SGD's)and/or written output. Electronic communication aids allow the user to use picture symbols, letters, and/or words and phrases to create messages. Some devices can be programmed to produce different spoken languages.

What we can do

Our Speech Pathologists are able to assess and provide treatment for children with varied diagnoses who may benefit from the use of augmentative communication which will provide them with or improve their communication. Our Speech Pathologists are experienced at using a variety of augmentative and alternate communication devices and methods. Using augmentative or alternative communication can often be an exciting time for children/adolescents and their families as it can decrease frustration resulting in difficult or no speech and improve the child/adolescent’s sense of independence and self-worth, opening up pathways for self-expression, socialisation, learning, and function.

The use of AAC does not mean that speech will cease or stop being encouraged but rather enhances the child/adolescent’s communication and in some cases allows for speech to begin. Augmentative and alternative communication includes all forms of communication (other than oral speech) that are used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas.

Speech pathology intervention may include the development of unaided communication systems, which include gesturing, sign language, and body language, or aided communication systems that involve the use of a tools such as books, boards, devices, and iPads.

Our Speech Pathologist may be able to assist you with the implementation of an AAC program within your home, community, preschool/school, and other therapy sessions. Practicing these skills intensively in other settings assists them to develop their communication skills within a functional context.



Children (2 to 18 years) who will benefit from this intervention include those with:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Physical disability
  • Oral and Verbal Dyspraxia
  • Children/adolescents with speech that is not functional
  • Developmental Disability.


During your regular speech pathology sessions


Individual therapy rooms, pre-school, school, and home visits may be arranged as required.

Provided by:

One of our experienced Speech Pathologists

Booking method:

Through Reception on 02 9519 0966 or through our Contact Us page.