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Individuals who have temporary or permanent loss of speech may benefit from AAC intervention. The cause of the communication impairment may be present at birth or acquired later in life. Some of the diagnosis' that may require the use of AAC include cerebral palsy, brain injury, autism, multiple sclerosis or ALS.

AAC systems include a wide range of devices from simple spelling or picture boards to sophisticated electronic devices. When an augmentative communication system is required, several modalities are normally used to meet the full spectrum of communication needs. For example, an individual may use an electronic speech output device in the workplace and sign language at home.

It is important that a comprehensive evaluation is conducted to determine the most appropriate type of system for the client. The evaluation consists of the following components:

  • Current communication strategies
  • Cognitive skills
  • Language skills
  • Motor skills
  • Communication needs assessment
  • Educational and vocational goals

Once the AAC evaluation is complete and the client receives the new AAC system, training to become an effective communicator with the AAC system in various situations and environments is required.