Getting an AAC device is an exciting development in your child’s communication journey!  Research has demonstrated that teaching a child communication skills is a very effective intervention for reducing challenging behavior.  Support from parents and caregivers is critically important to a child’s success in learning to communicate with AAC. We hope that these brief posts will help you feel confident as you begin this journey with your child.

In this 3-part series, we will cover some AAC terminology, how to care for your child’s device, and keeping the device available. In Part 1, let’s briefly review some of the acronyms and “jargon” you may hear as you enter the world of AAC.

AAC is the acronym for Augmentative and Assistive Communication.  This term covers many forms of assistive communication including picture exchange systems, sign language, low-tech devices, dedicated speech output devices and iPads with communication apps.

AAC is the most common acronym, but you also may hear the terms Voice Output Communication Device (VOCA) or Speech Generating Device (SGD) used in some settings, such as IEPs, journal articles, or billing documents.

There are a wide variety of high-tech AAC dedicated devices and applications. Some of the most common are LAMP Words for Life, Proloquo2Go, TouchChat, GoTalk Now and Tobii Dynavox.  Each device or application has features that should be carefully considered when selecting the most appropriate system for your child.  This decision should be made in collaboration with your child’s speech therapist, and may include consultation with your child’s teacher, BCBA, or occupational therapist as well.

Most families have a preferred way of referring to their child’s device.  Common terms include “talker”, “voice” or simply “device”, “tablet” or “iPad”.  You can choose whatever term feels most comfortable for your family.  It is helpful to communicate to your child’s team what term you prefer so that everyone can use the same language when speaking with your child.

In part 2 of the series, we will discuss how to care for your child’s new device and keep it in working order.

Written by an ABA Interventions therapist, Cresanna Kahrl, RBT