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Exploring Augmentative & Alternative Communication

speech therapy with Augmentative & Alternative Communication device
Image from CanvaPro – Non-verbal girl living with cerebral palsy, learning to use digital tablet device to communicate. People who have difficulty developing language or using speech use speech-generating devices.

In a world where communication is key, imagine being unable to express your thoughts, feelings, or needs verbally. This reality confronts over a million Australians daily. Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC) offers a lifeline, enabling individuals with communication difficulties to connect, express themselves, and participate more fully in society. Let’s explore the world of AAC today to understand its significance and functioning.

Understanding AAC

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) encompasses a diverse range of techniques, strategies, and tools designed to support individuals with communication challenges. These challenges may arise from conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, aphasia, and motor neuron diseases like ALS. Consequently, AAC provides a means of expression when traditional speech is limited or inaccessible.

The Landscape of AAC

AAC presents in various forms:

    • Unaided AAC: Users rely solely on their body, including gestures, facial expressions, and sign language.
    • Low Tech Aided AAC: Utilises external tools such as communication boards and picture cards to facilitate communication.
    • High-Tech AAC: Incorporates sophisticated electronic devices capable of generating speech through text or symbol-based input, catering to diverse needs and preferences.

The Impact of AAC

AAC’s impact extends far beyond communication. It serves as a gateway to independence, self-expression, and social participation. By dismantling communication barriers, AAC empowers individuals to assert autonomy, foster relationships, pursue education and employment opportunities, and engage meaningfully in society.

The Role of LifeTec

LifeTec dedicates itself to introducing and supporting the use of assistive technology, including AAC. Its mission is to enhance lives through technology, empowering individuals, families, and communities to navigate disability and aging with dignity and independence.

How LifeTec Can Help

LifeTec offers:

    • Assessment and Consultation:  LifeTec’s speech pathologists are highly trained in assessing, trialing, and training AAC systems. Through comprehensive assessments, individuals with complex communication needs can explore tailored solutions to meet their unique requirements. LifeTec guides individuals through its IMAGINE SEEK CHOOSE LIVE pathway, ensuring they receive the most suitable AAC solutions.

    • Training and Support: LifeTec provides access to cutting-edge speech generating devices from major suppliers including Liberator Australia, Link Assistive, Zyreq, Spectronics, Communicate AT, and Control Bionics supporting dedicated communication devices. Facilitated device trials help find the best fit, with decision-making support offered regarding the most suitable device, along with setup and training to empower effective utilisation.

    • Innovation and Collaboration: LifeTec collaborates with researchers, developers, and other stakeholders to drive AAC technology innovation, ensuring access to solutions that enhance communication and promote inclusion.

LifeTec is committed to providing support and expertise in navigating the world of AAC. With ongoing technological advancements, LifeTec ensures access to cutting-edge AAC solutions that are effective, accessible, and inclusive. From comprehensive assessments to personalized consultations, LifeTec guides individuals in finding the most suitable AAC solutions tailored to their needs and preferences.

Connect with us today!

To learn more about our Augmentative & Alternative Communication Services, click here.

You can also fill out our online enquiry form or referral form.

For additional information on AAC, you can explore resources such as AGOSCI (Australian Group Supporting Communication Inclusion).

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