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What is Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems (AACs)

Handbook of Research on Developments in E-Health and Telemedicine: Technological and Social Perspectives
Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems (AACs) help those with communication disorders by supplementing or substituting communication. AACs range from non technical solutions (e.g., paper-based) to highly technical solutions (e.g., synthesized generated speech) (AACI, 2008).
Published in Chapter:
Augmentative and Alternative Communication Technologies
Gondy Leroy (Claremont Graduate University, USA) and Leo Gianluca De (Claremont Graduate University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-670-4.ch051
Communication is a dynamic process that creates and conveys a mutual understanding between two or more people. Since this process is complex and not easily taught, there exist many communication disorders ranging from a physical limitation, such as ALS, to a cognitive language disorder, such as autism. Augmentative and alternative communication systems (AACs) help people with communication disorders by providing them substituted means for communicating. These systems range from non-technical solutions, such as a paper-based PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), to elaborate technical solutions, such as a plasma picture communication table. Due to the increased attention to AACs, the Worldwide Health Organization (WHO) provides a framework to evaluate effectiveness. Using this framework as a basis, the authors identified barriers and support factors for AAC effectiveness and subsequently best practices for AAC designs. They conclude with a case study of adapting a paper-based picture-based communication system to mobile devices using open-source software development for use by children with severe autism.
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