What is AAC?

What is Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)?

Some people (children and adults) due to accident, illness or disability, cannot speak clearly enough to make themselves understood. Not being able to speak is devastating for the person and for all of their family. Not being able to speak can be a huge barrier that gets in the way of: learning and the chance of gaining educational qualifications; chances of employment; the ability to be independent; and even making friends and relationships.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is the general term used to describe a variety of different, additional, methods of communication that can be used to get around problems with speech, and that can help the person to ‘get their message across’ and be understood.

AAC includes simple systems such as pointing to photos and pictures and symbols, gestures and simple signs, as well as more complex techniques involving powerful computer technology, with synthetic speech output.

It is estimated that about 1 in 100 people may have significant difficulties expressing themselves, so that means in Scotland there could be more than 50,000 people who might benefit from the use of some kind of AAC system.