Author: Jack Slemenda
Converse College, SC
Date submitted to –
February 4, 2008
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Jack Slemenda – Converse College
• Effective communication does not just
happen. It takes considerable effort
from both the sender and the receiver
of information to ensure that
communication attempts accomplish
their intent. Those who experience
communication disorders encounter
exceptional difficulty participating in
the communication process.
Employing communication devices to
support the communication process
can significantly improve their
successful participation.
• AAC – Aided Augmentative/or alternative
communication systems
• Assistive Devices
• Adaptive Technology
• Interactive Symbolic Communication
• Visual Communication
What is an augmentative communication
• These devices of technology
can range from:
• A board with pictures
representing a student’s daily
• Augmentative
• Words, phrases, sentences
communication devices help
symbolically represented on a
individuals in producing
communication display as
and/or understanding
photographs, line drawings,
tangible objects or letters
• Aided Communications are • Electronic speech synthesizers
(prerecorded speech, or
frequently described to
segments of words, computers
mediate communication for
and portable electronic devices.
the nonspeaking child.
Who needs augmentative communication
• Individuals who are not
able to meet their
communication needs
without adaptive
• Those with congenital
causes of severe
communication disorders:
mental retardation,
developmental delay,
cerebral palsy, autism,
specific language
disorders and
developmental apraxia of
• Individuals who have
acquired disabilities as a
result of: traumatic brain
injury, stroke, ALS,
multiple sclerosis and
spinal cord injury.
• Individuals that are verbal
or nonverbal. Visual tools
help students express
themselves better. One of
the primary purposes of
ACD’s are to enhance
student understanding.
Why do individuals need Augmentative
Devices or Assistive Technology?
• Assistive Technology
Products can enable people
with disabilities to
accomplish daily living
tasks, assist them in
communication, education,
work or recreation
activities; in essence, to
help them achieve greater
independence and enhance
their quality of life.
• Assistive Technology
devices can help
improve physical or
mental functioning,
overcome a disorder
or impairment, help
prevent the
worsening of a
condition, strengthen
a physical or mental
weakness, help
improve a person's
capacity to learn, or
even replace a
missing limb.
Do these devices replace a person’s
It is important to remember that an
individual’s full communication
capabilities should be utilized. This would
include using any residual speech or
vocalizations, gestures, facial expression,
eye gaze, signs and communication aid.
Will the use of a device interfere with a
child’s vocal development?
• Research indicates that
communication facilitates spoken
language by increasing interactions,
improving language skills and
providing a voice output model for
Selecting the proper device for a child
• Devices are designed or selected to address a child’s
present communication needs.
• Creative strategies are implemented to gradually expose
the child to various devices.
• Classroom needs determine the content of individual
• Planning strategies that are long-range in their focus but
still keeping with the child’s current motor or visual
• Children are provided with individualized
communication devices that go forward with them as
he/she graduates to a different program.
Special Advice for using Augmentative
• Proper training for
teacher, child and parents
• Allow time for the child to
become familiar with the
device (what does each
symbol mean, how do I
operate the device)
• Allow the child to use the
device for all situations
(classroom, play, dorm,
• Don’t limit the functions
of the device; provide
plenty of options
• Allow the child to use the
device with peers; not just
with the teacher
• Maintain the device
(clean, batteries, etc.)
• Plan for long term usage
(the device should ‘grow’
with the child)
Products Available
• Boardmaker is a graphics database containing over 3,000
Picture Communication Symbols (from PCS Books I, II, & III) in
bitmapped clip art form. The program allows you to:
• Make a professional looking communication display in minutes.
• Quickly find and paste pictures into your display with a mouse
• Make the pictures any size and with any spacing.
• Print and/or save your display on disk for later use.
• Print displays in black & white or color (if you have a color
• Store, name, retrieve, resize, and paste scanned or custom-drawn
• Make worksheets, picture instruction sheets, reading books,
journals, or posters. These may be made in Boardmaker or by
pasting the pictures in your desktop publishing program.
Language Features of BoardMaker
• Each symbol is translated into multiple languages
and may be found and printed in any of the
languages. This means that you can build a
communication board in any language without
being able to speak it.
Symbols may be copied with 1) no text above the
symbol, 2) one language above the symbol, or 3)
any two languages above the symbol.
Additional languages may be added.
• Pictures in Boardmaker for Windows come
translated into 24 languages.
AudiSee Assistive Listening Device
The AudiSee is a technological breakthrough in assistive
listening devices. It provides students with a hearing loss the
opportunity to access the entire message, by combining their
remaining hearing capabilities with visual cues. Several
studies have demonstrated that the combination of visual and
audio cues is strongly correlated to message comprehension.
How does it work?
The AudiSee system is intended for oralist people with
hearing loss i.e. people with a hearing loss that communicate
through spoken language and who usually have a Cochlear
implant or hearing aids.
Item: G-1400 AudiSee
Purchase: $5,100.00
The teacher wears a headset with a miniature camera and a
microphone. The image and voice of the teacher is then transmitted
to a small monitor placed on the student's desk or to a standard TV
set placed in front of the classroom.
In the classroom, what affects the hearing-impaired student most?
• Surrounding noises (other students, chairs and desks moving)
• Difficulty in seeing the teacher's face due to:
• The teachers movements
• Distance between the teacher and student
• Poor lighting
• Fatigue due as a result of efforts from deciphering the teacher's speech
Why use the AudiSee System?
The AudiSee allows the student to:
• Have uninterrupted access to the teachers face;
• Use his/her remaining hearing capacities through the use of their current FM system or
the AudiSee system;
• Devote less energy on deciphering the message, therefore leaving more for learning;
• Be less stressed by knowing that he/she now has complete access to what is being
said in class.
The AudiSee allows the teacher to:
• Move around the class freely;
• Address all the students in the class, instead of being obliged to stand in front of the
student with a hearing loss;
• Develop a privileged bond with a hearing-impaired student;
• Avoid having to repeat instructions.
Research and studies are showing this product is providing at least 30 to 50
percent more information!
ChatBox Assistive Communication Device
ChatBox and ChatBox-DX, voice output communication devices, combine the
use of meaningful pictorial images with the latest technology to enable
people who cannot speak to communicate easily and quickly with their
families, friends and others. The newly enhanced ChatBox is designed for use
by any individual who experiences cognitive and language limitations, brain
disorders, cerebral palsy or conditions that result in temporary loss of
speech. The addition of a deluxe model, ChatBox-DX, opens up a world of
capabilities to individuals with visual difficulty or very poor motor skills.
Additional Products
Light Box
Tactile Treasures
Soft Touch
Move Touch Do
Speech Computers
iCommunicator Augment
Cheap Talk
Go Talk
Hand Held Voice
Recipe Pictures
Hip Talk
Listen to Me
Goossens’, Carol., Crain, Sharon Sapp., Elder, Pamela S. (1994). Engineering the Preschool
Environment for Interactive Symbolic Communication, 1-15
Hodgdon, Linda A., (1995). Visual Strategies for Improving Communication, 1-20.
Drezek, Wendy (1995) Move, Touch, Do, 8-11.
Poppe, Karen., Elder, Venus (1997). Tactile Treasures, 1-50.