It's no secret, AAC programs are powerful communication tools. An AAC device can open the thoughts of a person who struggles to communicate so they can better interact with the world around them.
Unfortunately, a recent study of families using high tech AAC estimated that nearly 1/3 of those who started using this form of augmentative communication soon abandoned it.
Many of the families involved in the study expressed frustration with a lack of training, difficulty accessing help, and feeling overwhelmed as major factors contributing to their choice to quit AAC.
Of course, an AAC device is only of value if it is being used and it takes more than a willing user to make that happen. Successful AAC use MUST involve the family as well as supportive professionals like teachers and therapists.
Winning at AAC takes a committed team and every member of that team is important.
Sometimes parents are highly engaged in making AAC a part of life. However, without the guidance of trained professionals, it can be a struggle to know what to do and how to do it. What vocabulary should we choose? How should the system be used? Do we only use this thing during school? Is it ok to communicate without the AAC device or should we force our child to use it ALL the time?
Sometimes speech professionals find that AAC is only being used during therapy or in school. At home the device sits unused on the kitchen counter. That really is a problem because much more of life is spent with family than with anyone else.
When we end up with one sided AAC focus it leaves our loved one teetering akwardly between the worlds of home and therapy.
It shouldn't be this way. AAC really is a team sport.
A great day at therapy is not nearly as awesome as it could be unless it is paired with great encouragement from home. Amazing family support is lessened when it lacks the direction that can come from those with training in the field and knowledge of best practices.
Whether you aid a user from the classroom or the family room let's keep in mind the reason we do this work -- to open the voice of an amazing person who needs our support.
Together, we can make that happen.
We'd love to be part of your support team
*Check out our growing library of CoughDrop instructional videos on YouTube to help your team over any hurdles.