Today is Autism Acceptance Day! Today is also the day we finally get E set up with an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device. AAC is any form of communication other than oral. This ranges from the unaided, like gestures, body language, and sign language, to the aided, like writing, communication boards, and electronic devices. Up until this point, we’ve tried most of these systems. Using a device is our next step.
E can be wonderfully expressive and has perfected her gesturing. Picture exchange communication (PECs) has also helped us through many months of learning to understand E’s voice. Sign language has been hit or miss. And after nearly a year of speech therapy, E’s language has grown exponentially. She’s gone from 10 to over 60 words which is remarkable considering how hard she’s worked to get here. Despite all this, her communication abilities are still limited. This makes interacting with others difficult.
A high tech AAC device has the potential to change her life. It will help her to communicate with people now. She will be able to put an actual voice to thoughts and opinions. She can ask questions past requesting items or actions. 80% of the words we use are core words. Learning nouns for each thing will not significantly increase E’s communication skills. But an AAC device with a core words based Augcomm application just might.
I am beyond excited and optimistic for this next stage in our journey.