Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is any form of communication that people use if they are unable or unwilling to use standard forms of communication such as speech.
Augmentative communication systems are designed to complement and sometimes enhance standard means of communication.
Alternative communication systems are designed to replace standard means of communication.
There is evidence that the Picture Exchange Communication System may help some autistic children and adolescents to communicate more effectively. There is evidence that facilitated communication is not effective in supporting autistic people to communicate more effectively. Determining the benefits of the other forms of augmentative and alternative communication systems is not currently possible. We must wait for further research of sufficiently high quality to be completed
No risks are known for most forms of AAC. However, some significant risks exist for facilitated communication, including the danger of unsubstantiated claims of sexual abuse against family members of the autistic person.
Unaided augmentative and alternative communication systems includes various forms of communication that are used alongside or instead of spoken language and which do not require an external tool.
Unaided AAC systems includes facilitated communication, sign language, and total communication training.
Please see the section on Unaided AAC Systems
Aided AAC systems use an external tool or device, electronic or otherwise. Aided AAC systems are sometimes split into low and high tech systems.
Please see the section on Aided AAC systems