What is Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)?
Updated: Jun 3, 2020
You may have seen someone write in a notebook to answer a question. Maybe you have seen people using gestures to communicate. You may have seen someone point to pictures or push buttons on a computer that speaks for them. These are all forms of augmentative and alternative communication, or AAC.
AAC includes all of the ways we share our ideas and feelings without talking. We all use forms of AAC every day. You use AAC when you use facial expressions or gestures instead of talking. You use AAC when you write a note and pass it to a friend or coworker. We may not realize how often we communicate without talking.
People with severe speech or language problems may need AAC to help them communicate. Some may use it all of the time. Others may say some words but use AAC for longer sentences or with people they don’t know well. AAC can help in school, at work, and when talking with friends and family.
Types of AAC
Do you or your loved one have difficulty talking? There are options that might help. There are two main types of AAC—unaided systems and aided systems. You may use one or both types. Most people who use AAC use a combination of AAC types to communicate.
You do not need anything but your own body to use unaided systems. These include gestures, body language, facial expressions, and sign language.
An aided system uses some sort of tool or device. There are two types of aided systems—basic and high-tech. A pen and paper is a basic aided system. Pointing to letters, words, or pictures on a board is a basic aided system. Touching letters or pictures on a computer screen that speaks for you is a high-tech aided system. Some of these speech-generating devices, or SGDs, can speak in different languages.
MyVoice was our first product that we ever released! Since 2016, we have listened to our users to make MyVoice the best AAC app on the market. We're excited to be taking our research to the next level as we introduce youBelong Voice. Voice offers advanced text-to-speech synthesis and Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) powered by Microsoft. youBelong Voice will be available later this year and we can't wait to share it with you!