Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

What is AAC?

Augmentative and Alternative Communication is an area of clinical practice that attempts to compensate for severe oral expressive communication deficits using "low technology" options such as picture boards or "high technology" options like digital voice output devices. AAC devices may be used for a temporary or permanent deficit.

Who specializes in AAC?

Speech language pathologists specialize in evaluating and treating communication disorders of all levels of severity.  For individuals with significant oral language impairments, it is important to select a speech language pathologist who specializes in AAC to gain the maximum benefit from evaluation and treatment sessions.

 Who might need an AAC Assessment?

  • People with physical, sensory and/or cognitive impairments that may affect overall communication abilities
  • People who anticipate decline in their ability to speak due to progressive neurological disorders
  • People who are not able to communicate functional needs such as comfort, pain or nutrition 

What kinds of conditions typically cause severe communication impairments?

  • Acquired conditions such as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA or also referred to as "stroke") or traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Progressive neurological conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis (MS) or Parkinson's disease
  • Congenital ("since birth") conditions such as cerebral palsy (CP) or genetic syndromes (for example, Down Syndrome)

What could an AAC assessment include? 

The evaluating speech-language pathologist gathers information regarding the communication needs of an individual and uses that information to select options for AAC systems. An AAC recommendation is made based on the individual's communication needs and their ability to use specific systems. The evaluation session could include any of the following:

  • Oral Mechanism Examination
  • Hearing screening
  • Articulation proficiency assessment
  • Language function evaluation
  • Voice/fluency assessment
  • Cognitive and behavioral observations
  • Vision/visual perception screening
  • Motor control evaluation
  • Determination of seating and positioning options
  • Assessment of communication needs
  • Evaluation with specific AAC systems
  • Determination of psychosocial factors and motivation level

Who do I contact regarding an AAC assessment?

CTSPS is fortunate to have an AAC specialist on staff.  Speech language pathologist, Nancy Baden, MA CCC-SLP has many years of experience with AAC and extensive knowledge of current high tech and low tech AAC options.  

Call our office at 512-327-6179 for evaluation scheduling options.

For more information, visit Augmentative and Alternative Communication on ASHA's website.

For ongoing information about CTSPS therapists at work and in the community, visit our blog.


South Austin
2525 Wallingwood Drive
Building 2
Austin, TX 78746

North Austin
8500 Bluffstone Cove
Building B
Suite 105
Austin, TX 78759

Phone: (512) 327-6179
Fax: (512) 327-1545