In honor of Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) Awareness Month, I’d like to provide more information abo
ut AAC options for adults and to once again share this quote, which is one of our favorites!
Alternative forms of communication are sometimes needed by individuals with ALS, aphasia after a stroke, primary progressive aphasia, or brain injuries as a means of expressing themselves when unable to do so in the traditional verbal sense.
As the speech pathologist providers on the Tulsa MDA team, we work frequently with alternative communication at SNR and help our patients with the entire process of ordering and training on the device that is best suited to their current and future needs. For example, our MDA patients with ALS may need a device that is capable of eye gaze control as physical abilities are declining and pressing buttons on a screen may become difficult. Our patients with language-based impairments that make reading words difficult (aphasia, for example) may need a software that is picture-based rather than one that contains written words and a traditional keyboard.
There are many types of devices and settings on devices that make them very individualized to each person so they can best express themselves. One’s own pre-recorded voice or a simulation of their voice can even be used on a device if voice banking was completed in time before the voice was lost. This is one reason we try to see our patients with ALS early before voice deteriorates- to do voice recording. In progressive conditions such as ALS or PPA, it is also best to learn to use the device before fully reliant on it to make the transition easier and less frustrating.
If you have any questions about alternative or augmentative communication methods for adults, please reach out to us and we’d love to help!
Loss of speech does not have to mean loss of communication. Everyone deserves a voice!