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Using Alternative Forms Of Communication

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) refers to any strategy or equipment that helps people who struggle with talking. For some children this will be a short term solution to support them whilst their speech is developing whereas for others AAC, in one form or another, will be an important part of their communication throughout their life.

Communication is so much more than speech. We can converse through our body language facial, expressions and natural gesture e.g. waving. For people who struggle with talking AAC capitalises on these forms of communication alongside more specific strategies to support or replace speech. These range from the use of pen and paper, sign language and symbols (pictures representing words), through to electronic devices that speak a person’s message. These may be relatively simple devices such as iPads or in a few cases much more sophisticated computers that are controlled with the eyes or other specialist devices.

1. Top tips for Using Signing

Signing can be used to help people understand spoken language as the signs provide extra clues. Signing can also be used to help people who have problems speaking e.g. making sentences or producing the necessary sounds. Signing can also be used for people with learning difficulties in order to give them a basic means of communication.

2. Visual Aids

Visual aids can be used to help children understand spoken language as they provide extra visual clues. Visual aids can be particularly useful for children experiencing hearing and attention difficulties as well as difficulties understanding and using language.

See the need more information section below for more videos on visual aids

3. Using a Communication Book

A communication book is a book or folder that helps people to communicate using symbols or pictures. They are used to help people who can understand more than they can say or to support their speech if it is not always clear. They also support children with their language development.

4. Top tips for using a tablet as a communication device

Model the use of the tablet to the child consistently throughout their daily
routine/activities. Repetition is the key to helping your child learn. 

Who Can Help?

You can contact the Norfolk & Waveney Speech & Language Therapy Service by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

You can speak to other Norfolk parents and carers by clicking our online community forum below. 

      

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