AAC refers to any communication strategy used to compensate for the loss of speech. These strategies range from gestures and picture boards to computers, eye-gaze technologies and speech generating devices, and can be used by any person who cannot communicate effectively. There are many reasons why some children never develop speech, such as Autism, cerebral palsy, medical conditions, hearing loss etc, and an adult may lose their speech as a result of a head injury, a stroke or a degenerative condition. The ability to express oneself (have a voice) from early childhood forms the foundation for early language development and communication. AAC need not replace or hinder the potential for future speech or language development such as sign language but rather enhance it.
The decision to use AAC is a significant one and takes commitment. The way in which people use AAC will also change throughout the period of use and is dependent on their needs at a particular time. AAC assessment therefore is ongoing and must include the AAC user, their family and other regular communication partners. Interface KZN offers professional screening and evaluation for potential AAC users and their families.