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Adam’s experiences with different AAC systems

different
AAC
systems

I am a speech and language therapist and want to share the story of a young man with you. ‘Adam’ is now nearly 19 and I have known him since he was seven. He has always been a friendly young man who likes to help. He gets his message across to you by taking you by the hand to something he wants, or by pulling at your jersey and pointing to things. He uses his voice well and by that you can tell when he is happy, concerned, uncertain, angry and a range of other emotions.

Over the years we have tried lots of different AAC systems with Adam and to begin with they all seem to be good and people are interested in them. He has used picture symbols on cardboard or in books; he has used light tech devices with recorded words and sounds associated with activities. One thing that does happen quite a bit is that if Adam gets upset he tends to throw things. This is one of the reasons why we moved away from using light tech AAC – not because of fear of it getting broken or potentially hurting someone but that when this happens it makes Adam inconsolably upset for a considerable period of time after the incident.

Recently, we have found that what works best for him is to use digital photographs which he helps to take, print off and then put in his communication book. He takes great delight in sharing his book with people and recently has used it spontaneously to ask to do something, or see someone. This is a huge leap forward for Adam. What is slightly sad though, is that I think we (Adam’s family, Adam, me and his class teacher) are coming under pressure to go for a technological solution again. Perhaps that may be helpful in the future but for now I do wish ‘low tech’ was seen to be as valuable as high tech!


Things you may want to look into: picture symbols, communication book ... see aided communication 

December 2012


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