What is AAC?

AAC is an acronym for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Some children and adults have limited expressive communication and are not able to adequately verbally communicate to meet a variety of needs (e.g., requesting, protesting, commenting, responding to questions). These people often benefit from availability of AAC systems. AAC includes all the alternative ways we can use to express our thoughts, that isn’t verbal speech. We use AAC when we send a text message, use emojis, make facial expressions or gestures.

Unaided and Aided Communication Systems

Unaided systems do not require anything other than the user’s own body and can include sign language, eye gaze, body languages or gestures, and facial expressions. An aided system uses materials or equipment to augment communication and can be low-tech or high-tech. Examples of low-tech systems are a communication board or Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) with the child uses pictures and other symbols to communicate. Recorded speech devices, iPad apps, and speech generative devices referred to as “durable medical equipment” are considered to be high-tech communication systems.

Collaboration with an SLP

An SLP can work with you and your child to introduce AAC and find the right AAC system for you. It may take time and it is important to know that not every device will work for everyone, and you may need to trial more than one system. For those who are concerned about the development of verbal speech, AAC will not prevent a person from using verbal speech if they are able to. Research suggests that AAC does not prevent the development of speech and my actually support speech production (Millar, Light, & Schlosser, 2006).


High-tech AAC using Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP). It uses an approach based on motor learning principles to develop communication skills. 

Why we developed our Workplace Communication Groups

 We continually listen to our clients and their families and adjust our programs to support the needs we hear about. In the past few years, job training programs have sprung up across the state of Ohio for kids with special needs, These programs have many benefits but several of our clients began to tell us about negative experiences. We discovered there is often not enough communication preparation prior to these young people are entering interview and work environments with new communication demands.


When we heard a parent describe her son, usually a happy go lucky guy, leaving a job interview in tears we knew we needed to help. For this client, the answer was programming his answers to common interview questions on his AAC device for him. Each client has different needs and we are here to meet those needs and prepare them for a successful transition into the workforce. The key is addressing communication needs before students begin interviewing for jobs. SpeechPath Ohio completes a thorough inventory of a student’s communication strengths and weaknesses and develops goals in cooperation with clients and their families. We practice mock interviews, teach social skills needed to communicate with employers, customers and co-workers and reinforce organizational strategies to increase independence. If you know a middle school student, high school student or young adult who has goals of gainful employment, be sure their communication abilities are addressed so they are ready to succeed. Need help? SpeechPath Ohio is with you every step of the way. 

Summer Speech Therapy

Spring break is over and suddenly summer is just around the corner. Filling your children’s summer vacation with activities that are both fun and educational can be a challenge but we can help! 


Our therapists are busy gathering ideas for our great summer speech therapy groups and individual sessions. We offer fun and social programs so kids can practice the skills they have learned this year and be ready to hit the ground running next fall. From preschoolers learning to speak clearly to teens preparing to interview for their first job, we have programs for everyone. Read more about summer speech here.