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Communication systems, strategies, and tools that replace or supplement natural speech are known as augmentative alternative communication (AAC). AAC helps people meet basic needs and participate in the world around them. AAC includes, assistive technology, or the use of any equipment, tool, or strategy to improve functional daily living in individuals with disabilities or limitations. AAC can include no/low-tech, or high-tech speech-generating devices (SGDs).

How can Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) at Breakthrough Behavior help with AAC?

Breakthrough Behavior SLPs can offer AAC diagnostics, speech device trials, support with insurance funding, device programming and training.

Communicating without speech can be difficult.  It may be confusing and frustrating when messages cannot be shared effectively. Our SLPs can assist individuals with AAC needs by providing clinical assessment, treatment, consultation & advocacy.

Benefits of AAC include:

  • improved personal safety

  • increased independence & decision-making

  • stronger friendships and deeper relationships

  • richer, more frequent social interactions

  • greater participation in their family lives and communities

How Do I Obtain a Speech Device?

  1. Contact us now to schedule your evaluation

  2. Breakthrough Behavior will help you to receive a physician's referral and determine insurance funding options

  3. Complete the AAC evaluation with one of our specialized SLPs

  4. Finalize follow-up paperwork

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AAC supports speech development. This has been documented in multiple research studies and in clinical practice, too. When provided with AAC, the vast majority of people say more words with their natural speech.


AAC builds language skills. With AAC, individuals aren’t limited to saying only what their mouths can produce. For example, it allows them to put endings on words to make plurals and past tense. It also helps them move from simple sentences (e.g., “I want cookie”) into more complex sentences (e.g., “I want a big cookie because I worked hard”).


There are no cognitive prerequisites to AAC use. AAC is used successfully with people who have significant intellectual disabilities. They need considerable support, but with good services and consistent implementation, these individuals can make considerable gains in their communication skills.


People learn AAC best when others use it to talk to them. In this way, it is similar to learning a foreign language. We’d all learn to speak a new language more easily if our teachers, therapists, friends and family spoke that language.


AAC helps build literacy skills. The language, sequencing and exposure to print on AAC systems is helpful for people who are or (could be) learning to read.


Some speaking people need AAC and use it when highly stressed. There are adults with autism who speak well, have college degrees, hold good jobs, and are raising families who have significant difficulty talking when they are tired, sick or stressed. AAC helps them during these times. They then go back to speaking normally when they feel better.


AAC can reduce the severity and frequency of challenging behavior. With appropriate intervention, research and clinical practice has demonstrated that AAC can be an effective substitute for things like hitting, grabbing, dropping to the floor, or throwing things.