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Speech Therapy and AAC – But What is AAC?!

AAC, stands for “augmentative and alternative communication” and includes all the different ways we communicate besides spoken language. Gestures, sign language, pictures, and speaking devices are all considered AAC.

Why do speech therapists use AAC? Sometimes a kiddo is nonverbal (does not use spoken language), or sometimes they have difficulty imitating spoken language. AAC helps them communicate their wants and needs and can even help kids socialize.

Many people think AAC prevents spoken language from developing. This is actually false. In fact, it helps! Research has shown that picture communication exchange is a concrete way to help toddlers understand how language works. For example, if they want a train, they can pick up a picture of a train and give it to the caregiver. The caregiver gives them the train in exchange for the picture. Signs are also another great way to help toddlers talk. Here are some good sites for learning sign language:

If you have questions regarding whether a specific type of AAC is appropriate for your child, please speak with one of our PTC Speech Therapists for assistance. Remember, AAC can help!

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Blog Written By:

Cheelsea Johnson

Chelsea Johnson
Speech Therapist

Chelsea Johnson received her Bachelor’s of Science and Master’s of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Nebraska in Omaha. She has worked with pediatric patients of all ages in outpatient and school settings in areas including language development, articulation and phonological disorders, augmentative and alternative communication, and social skills development. She also has experience working with adults in hospitals, where she conducted modified barium swallow studies, and skilled nursing facilities. Chelsea was born and raised in Omaha and loves working in the community of Papillion. Seeing her patients grow and develop their speech-language skills, and being a part of the process, makes her job special.


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