Beliefs about AAC exist among families, caregivers and professionals. Some are true. Others are false. Listed below are common myths about AAC and the research that proves them to be inaccurate.
Common Myth: AAC will inhibit the individual’s ability and keep them from speaking.
Speech is the means of communication with which we are most familiar. We are thrilled when we hear a child’s first word and look forward to hearing him express his wants, needs, feelings and thoughts. There are times, however, when speech is not developing or is not functional to meet an individual’s communication needs for various reasons. It is in these circumstances when the introduction of AAC might be suggested. The suggested introduction of AAC often results in families, caregivers, teachers and others expressing the following concerns (University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s AAC Connecting Young Kids [YAACK] website):
- Use of AAC will keep the individual from talking.
- Introduction of AAC means that we have given up on speech.
- AAC will become a crutch. The individual will not work on their speech. He will take the easy way out and use AAC.
- This individual is too young for AAC and we need to give her more of a chance to use her speech before introducing AAC
The research clearly shows that AAC will not keep an individual from using or developing natural speech. For more information on this topic, go to:
Common Myth: Some speech means AAC is not needed.
Many individuals with autism may have some spoken words or sentences that can be understood very well by others. The individual may be able to repeat words or even full sentences (echolalia). If this is the case some key questions must be answered:
- Is the individual’s speech functional in all situations and environments?
- How long will you wait for speech to improve? A week, a month, a year?
- What are the language experiences that will be missed due to the inability to communicate?
We must look more closely at the benefits as well as the costs to individuals with significant communication difficulties, who have “some speech” and how AAC might enhance their overall communication interaction and language development.
For more information on this topic, go to: