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Tuesday 21 Nov 2017

Common questions about using augmentative communication devices for children with autism

Article by Stephanie Ekis, MS, CCC-SLP
I thought that I would share some frequently asked questions (and the answers that I provide) that I have received over the past several years while providing augmentative communication services for children with significant communication challenges.   They are as follows…

Will a speech device impede my child’s natural ability to speak?

Extensive research has proven that AAC can actually benefit children by enhancing their communication and supporting the development of language and literacy skills. In many cases, AAC may, in fact, facilitate the production of speech.

Read more…

How do I know if an augmentative communication device is the right choice for my child?

If your child’s speech and language skills are not developing normally or has a condition making normal speech development unlikely, then they may be a candidate for AAC.  Please note that introducing augmentative communication DOES NOT mean that you are giving up on speech.  This is a common misperception.  Remember, the goal of AAC is to enhance communication, not to replace or inhibit the existing communication skills of the child.  If you would like to know if your child is a candidate for augmentative communication, complete the Communication Success Screening Form. For more information on typical speech and language development, please visit http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/

Communication devices are typically recommended by a speech-language pathologist (SLP) following an evaluation of your child’s abilities, needs and communication goals.  The evaluation will assess and compare different devices to determine which system will allow your child to achieve the highest level of communication success.  If you need help finding an SLP in your area that is familiar with augmentative communication, please contact your local DynaVox consultant.

How do I choose the most appropriate device?

A Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) should perform an evaluation to determine if an augmentative communication system is appropriate for your child. Most school districts and private speech and language clinics either employ SLPs or can refer you to a qualified SLP in your area. The SLP may suggest that several different devices are trailed before a decision is made. If you need assistance in finding an SLP who is familiar with AAC in your area, please contact your local DynaVox consultant.

How are devices funded?

In most states, devices are paid for by one of several funding sources.  These sources include Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance.  Some nonprofit organizations also work to provide communication devices for those who do not qualify for or do not have access to other funding sources.  Since funding varies in each state, DynaVox can help you with the funding process by assigning a funding specialist who is knowledgeable about your state’s specific funding requirements.  You funding specialist will  assist you in preparing and submitting the required paperwork to acquire a communication device for your child.

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