Augmentative and alternative communication (ACC) offers strategies and assistance for people with severe communication problems that affect the way they talk, use language, read, and write. ACC can include everything from simple picture boards to high-tech speech-generating devices. Some people use AAC their entire lives, while others use them temporarily, such as after a stroke. Children who have poor muscle control for speech use AAC to reduce stress and frustration in communication. Children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and have trouble communicating use AAC to express their needs and desires
The audiology and speech-language therapy team at University of Miami Health System provides a complete evaluation and develops a customized treatment plan for your child or teenager. Every child’s needs are different, so your child gets personalized attention to come up with approaches that fit their needs and lifestyle.
Who is a Candidate?
People who use AAC fall into two categories: those with conditions that are present at birth (congenital) and those who develop a condition due to an accident, injury, or illness (acquired). Congenital conditions that may require use of AAC include:
- Cerebral palsy
- Developmental apraxia of speech, a condition that disrupts messages from the brain to the muscles used to speak
- Developmental delays
- Genetic (passed down in families) disorders
- Intellectual disability
Acquired conditions that may require use of AAC include:
- Acquired or traumatic brain injury
- Disability following a surgery, such as glossectomy (removal of all or part of the tongue) or laryngectomy (removal of the larynx)
- Neurodegenerative diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), supranuclear palsy, primary progressive aphasia, and apraxia
- Temporary critical care situations, such as when a breathing tube is required
What to Expect
There are two broad categories of AAC:
- Aided AAC: Uses a device or object. It can be a high-tech device — such as a smartphone, tablet, or computer — or a low-tech aid — such as objects, photographs, writing, communication boards, or books.
- Unaided AAC: Uses body language, facial expressions, gestures, sign language, or vocalized sounds.
Our audiology and speech-language therapy team work with your child to determine what’s right for them. We involve the entire family and allow you and your child to explore different communication aids to determine what works best for you. We provide education, training, and access to tools that help your child communicate in a variety of situations and environments. Together, we discover ACC strategies that allow your child to communicate successfully and confidently.
Why Choose UHealth?
Excellence in treating children’s hearing conditions. We’ve been recognized by Children’s Medical Services (CMS), a division within the Florida Department of Health, for excellence in newborn hearing screening and early identification of hearing loss in infants.
World-class health care for children. Children and their families come from all over the world to receive top-quality care from our compassionate team of pediatric specialists. Your child will receive personalized attention from doctors who are sought out for their expertise.
HealthySteps program helps children meet milestones. All our general pediatrics offices use the HealthySteps program to ensure that children are developing appropriately for their age — physically, emotionally, and psychologically. When there are issues or concerns, we work closely with patients and their families to connect them with support resources. We’re the only academic health center in South Florida with developmental and behavioral pediatric specialists on staff.