Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) thumbnail.

Did you know that the most common barrier to learning identified by schools is communication?

One approach strongly encourage using AAC to develop effective and communication is Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)!

AAC is any communication strategy outside of speech. There are two main types of AAC:

  • Unaided AAC – doesn’t require use of an external aid, e.g., gesture, facial expression, Key Word Sign, Auslan; and
  • Aided AAC – using a low tech external aid (e.g., pictures, PODD book) and/or a high tech external aid (e.g., iPad, speech generating device).

Many parents have worries that using AAC will discourage or prevent the child from learning to speak, however research shows that AAC helps to support and promote speech!

Research also shows that AAC:

  • Supports the development of language
  • Supports the development of literacy skills
  • Increases the quality and quantity of social interactions with peers
  • Increases independence
  • Contributes to better psychological outcomes (e.g., confidence, motivation, self-esteem)
  • Supports inclusion in school, community activities, and everyday life
  • Reduces frustration and the occurrence of behaviours considered “challenging”

Our DSQ Education Team can support schools and kindergartens with information, resources and strategies around using visuals, Key Word Sign or Auslan, communication books (e.g., PECS, PODD book), and  speech generating device apps (e.g., Proloquo/Proloquo2Go, LAMP, PODD) inclusively in the classroom and playground.

To find out more, email us at:

Check out our podcast episode that explores inclusive adjustments for students with Down syndrome