Stay Informed

A Glossary of AAC Terms

Posted on 27/03/2018

Like with any sort of technology, assistive devices often come with a lot of complex terminology. As a communication charity it’s our job to understand what these things mean, but we know most people like to do their own research into the devices. To get the most information and make informed decisions, you must recognize the language, so we’ve created a handy glossary of terms for you.

AAC – Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is the term used to describe various methods of communication that can ‘add-on’ to speech and are used to get around problems with ordinary speech.  This can describe anything from pictures and charts to computers.

Aided Communication – Methods of communication which involve additional equipment, such as a picture chart, a communication book, a computer or special communication aid.

Articulation Delay – An articulation delay/disorder is when a child has not mastered age appropriate sound in the typical time frame.

CCN – Complex communication needs.  It refers to severe speech, language and communication impairments such as Autism, Cerebral Palsy and learning disabilities.

Parallel Talk – A method of reinforcing language skills and modelling language to an individual. For example, when a child is building a tower, reiterating the colours of the blocks.

PECS – Picture Exchange and Communication Systems. A software or picture chart that details specific words with the use of pictures which helps to reinforce language.

PMLD – Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties. This terminology includes intellectual or developmental disabilities and physical disabilities. Most people will need to use a wheelchair and will have hearing and sight problems as well as non-verbal communication.

PODD – Pragmatic Organisation Dynamic Display. This refers to a type of computer aided technology that can order words and symbols in an accessible way. Pragmatic refers to the way in which the language will be used, so there might be categories within this technology called ‘questions’ or ‘ordering food’ etc. Organising these words in a dynamic display simply means that each selection has more pages that open to make more complex sentences.

SLP – Speech and Language Pathologist. This is a medically trained professional who aids people in learning communication. Often schools or hospitals will assign an SLP to your case, who will talk you through the best technologies, how to use them and how to get the most from them.

VOCA – Voice Output Communication Aids includes any device where the main function is to output speech. For example, Lightwriters, eye gazes and Grid Pads all use picture or text aided technology alongside a synthesised voice to convey messages.

If you would like to learn more about AAC or think you need some more information about communication disorders and assistive technology, then get in touch with us. Alternatively visit our website to learn more about the service we provide or if you are interested in registering for our help.