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Welcome to Cerebral Palsy:
Simple Notes on a Complex Problem

Augmentative/Alternative Communication

Augmentative Communication refers to all communication that is used in addition to speech. When effective communication needs cannot be met through speech, communication aids are explored. Different types of augmentative communication are:

  • eye gaze
  • sign language
  • pictures
  • picture symbols
  • photographs
  • alphabet boards/written words
  • voice output devices
  • computers

Augmentative Communication can be one of these systems of a combination of systems.

Cerebral Palsy can affect the muscle movement in the mouth making it difficult to understand what the child says. Lots of children with Cerebral Palsy use communication aids so that others can understand what they are trying to say.

In order to properly select an augmentative communication system, input from parents and professionals are needed. An effective team usual consists of parents, teacher/teacher's assistant, Speech and Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist and Physical Therapist. The Preschool AAC Checklist, an excellent tracking system, was developed under a grant from the United Cerebral Palsy Research and Education Foundation. The author is Judy Henderson and the booklet is published by Mayer-Johnson Co.

Voice Output Devices (VOD) are portable computers that talk when activated. They can be activated by pushing a button or using a switch with a scanner or head pointer. Some VOD's can be activated with an infrared system. An infrared pointing system is a light pointing device that works like the remote control for you television.

QuickPics is a free picture communication system available at http://www.patrickecker.org.