AAC Myths Busted

Separating Myths from Facts During AAC Awareness Month

Communication is a fundamental human need, and yet, many misunderstand or are unaware of the avenues available for those who struggle with conventional modes of speaking. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) stands as a beacon of hope for many, but is unfortunately shrouded in myths and misconceptions. As October marks AAC Awareness Month, let’s debunk these myths and shed light on the true essence and power of AAC.

At Smarty Symbols, we understand that Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) might be a new concept for many. This October, during AAC Awareness Month, we aim to dispel common myths surrounding AAC and shed light on its true potential in fostering meaningful connections. Let’s explore these misconceptions and reveal the truths that empower individuals and enhance communication for all.

Myth 1: AAC Is Just for Basic Needs

Truth: AAC is designed not only to communicate basic needs but also desires and thoughts. It’s about enriching social interactions and building closer bonds between individuals and their communities.

Myth 2: AAC hinders speech development

There are countless research studies that show that AAC does not hinder speech development but, in fact, can improve vocabulary and speech.

Myth 3: There are cognitive prerequisites to using AAC

People who have significant intellectual disabilities have successfully used AAC and with the right support system, have made strides in drastically improving communication skills. Children don’t even need to be able to understand that a picture represents an object in order to use AAC.

Myth 4: Only those who are non-verbal need AAC

Many individuals with autism can benefit from AAC use during times of stress or illness. AAC is individualized and everyone’s needs will be different at different times.

Myth 5: Use low-tech AAC first

There is no evidence that proves that a simple, paper system must first be implemented before a high-tech system can be used.

Myth 6: A child must have some quality of motor skills to use AAC

There are a variety of ways that AAC can be used to accommodate anyone, even those with very limited physical abilities.

Myth 7: Behavioral issues need to be addressed before AAC can be effective

Many times, the lack of ability to communicate is the cause of behavioral issues and once given the tools to effectively communicate, the individual’s behavior improves.

Myth 8: AAC is only helpful to young children

It is never too late for AAC to be introduced. Old and young have successfully learned to use AAC and saw vast improvements in quality of life from it.

Myth 9: AAC should be a last resort

AAC should be introduced when a communication issue arises and should be considered an equivalent form of communication.

The Truths

As Eleanor Roosevelt aptly said, “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes.” By choosing AAC, individuals express both their thoughts and their values.

At Smarty Symbols, we believe in the power of communication as a fundamental part of human interaction. Everyone deserves the chance to be heard. Join us in embracing and promoting AAC—not just during AAC Awareness Month but every day—to foster an inclusive, understanding, and connected world.

Nine AAC Myths busted

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