Who are you -- deep down? Can AAC help you tell the world who you are?

Aug 03, 2021

Every single one of us comes into the world as an individual.  We are not part of a conglomerate, a mass produced marketing scheme, or even a cookie cutter version of our parents.  

From the day you were are born you had feelings, preferences, ideas, likes, wants, needs, expressions, movements, and inclinations that make you you.

Because AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) is a way to help a person express themselves, it makes sense that a person's AAC should include some of the features that are unique to that person.

While we are GIANT advocates of core vocabulary and the importance of words that can be used to communicate about any topic, we also believe in the importance of being able to convey a specific message about who you are as part of the umbrella of full communication.

Don't want to disrupt the core speech boards with these personalized insights – no problem!  CoughDrop makes it easy to add a personal board to your sidebar so it is quickly accessible from anywhere in speak mode without changing things on your home board or core communication set.  Learn more about that CoughDrop AAC Sidebar option here.

Creating a functional personalized AAC communication set may start with adjusting the button size to fits needs or changing the background color on a speech board – but it doesn't stop there.

Here are a few other things to consider when making sure a person has the ability to express who they really are.

Important Words and Needs

Everyone has things in their life that are important to their everyday function.  Whether that is a comfort item, a pet, an activity, a mandatory personal need, a required medication, or something else a person should be able to express the need or desire for those important necessities.

AAC speech board with 10 buttons, each with a purple background.  The button labels include "medicines" with a picture of pill bottles, "music" with a pciture of a boom box, "videos" with a picture of a screen with video ready to play, "Homer" with a picture of a stuffed gorilla, "blanket" with a picture of a blanket, "tablet" with a picture of a tablet, "dark/light off" with a picture of a dark bulb, "rub hands" with a picture of a hand, "worry beads" with a picture of a string of beads, and "quiet time" with a picture of a megaphone crossed out.

Gender & Sexuality

Gender is often an important part of defining who we are as humans.  Being able to express feelings or preferences surrounding gender is an important topic in many circles.  A board like this might give the option to share feelings and thought surrounding gender.

An AAC speech boards with 15 buttons that read "gender," "sexuality," "gay," "lesbian," "heterosexual," "transgender," "non-binary," "bisexual," "pansexual," "agender," "queer," "gender fluid," "pride," "masculine," and "feminine"

Self Advocacy

Everyone deserves a way to express themselves and sometimes that means advocating for yourself in difficult situations.  Being sure that a person has a way to express their feelings about interactions with others is essential.  Having needs and feelings be heard and honored is important.

An AAC speech board with 15 speech buttons which are labeled: "listen to me," "don't touch me," "don't touch my things," "you are too close," "I need your help," "talk to me about it," "go away," "I don't want to," "that hurts," "I can do it," "I don't want that," "I can choose," "leave me alone," "please," and "now."

AAC About Me

It might be a good idea to make an "about me" page for your communication set to be able to quickly share important tidbits.  This might include allergies or other medical information, favorite facts you like to share, things that scare you, important instructions or needs, etc.  

AAC speech board with 14 buttons which are labeled: "My name Melissa," "I have a dog," "I live in Utah," "my family" "I love to swim," "I love to play checkers," "I hate olives," "I don't like cats," "I love dinosaurs," "I am allergic to grass," "I hate loud noises," "Please don't touch me," "My favorite color is blue," "Lemonade is my favorite."

Of course, this is far from an exhaustive list – but it's a place to start.  Start thinking about what makes an individual unique and then be sure that those words or ideas are available so they can be expressed in communication with others.

Everyone deserves the chance to express who they really are way down deep.

Melissa DeMoux

CoughDrop Director of Marketing and Support -- working with AAC communicators and supporters