Today, October 1st, begins AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) Awareness and Acceptance Month. I began my AAC journey over 20 years ago as a provider for an intelligent young man who used a device that looks nothing like the advanced devices available today. It was plastic and required a piece of paper with images to be slid into a small opening. Each cell with an image then had to be recorded so there could be voice output. He loved to ask for shaving cream and lemons so those paper pages often got dirty:) My next experience was with the Picture Exchange Communication System and I saw how the power of communication opened the doors to self-advocacy for a shy little girl. Those experiences confirmed my desire to become a Speech-Language Pathologist. They also opened the doors to my desire to learn more about AAC and how I can help people communicate.
Fast forward to 2007 when I was approached by a family I was working with who had an amazing idea. They wondered why devices were so expensive and bulky. They wanted to develop an affordable, portable, easy to use AAC system anyone could use anywhere. After hours of talking with fellow SLP's, reading research, taking ideas from the family and working with a software developer, we developed Alexicom Tech's AAC solutions. Keep in mind, during these times I still ran in to people (SLP's included) that didn't really know what AAC was or felt comfortable with using AAC device. So we knew not only do we need to get in the community to share our development, but also educate people on the importance of AAC.
I am so happy to see so many AAC conferences, AAC bloggers and influencers, and specialists beyond SLP's who are spreading the word about AAC. If you know someone whose current mode of communication cannot be understood by anyone he/she interacts or attempts to communicate with, please conisider AAC. If you know someone who is a hospital and cannot communication for whatever reason, please provide AAC. During this month, talk to others about AAC and spread the word! Communiction IS a Human Right!
If you would like more information about how you can spread the word about AAC, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.