AAC Campaign--Get people talking about AAC and help more people get access to communication technology, training and ongoing support

We are continuing our efforts to bring awareness and understanding of the need for anyone who has limited communication to gain access to other ways to communicate, termed AAC (augmentative and alternative communication methods). These methods include other ways to speak, write and read such as electronic talking aids, computers, tablet computers, boards and books with pictures, words, and letters, Talking Mats, Communication Passports, eye-gaze, partner-assisted scanning, facilitated communication training, Rapid Prompting Method, gesture and sign language, and captioning. We encourage you to learn more and to teach others about AAC methods and how they can help with expression and with understanding what is being said.

Here are some ideas for learning more about AAC, increasing the visibility of AAC and people who use it, and helping people who use AAC to teach others about communication. Invite a person who uses AAC to make a speech or other presentation. Invite a person who uses AAC to demonstrate their communication method and to have a conversation so that others may learn better to interact with and listen to people who use various AAC systems. Host a film about AAC and invite people who use AAC to share their experiences with the audience. Connect people who are new to using AAC to communicate with mentors who are experienced users of AAC. Work with people who use AAC and their families and supporters to organize fundraising events to raise funds for AAC devices in your local area and to share information about AAC. Get local news media to interview people who use AAC and to print stories about AAC technology, the numbers of people who need AAC but may not have access, the lack of professionals trained in AAC, and related issues.

AAC Visibility and Awareness Project

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Today we are participating in the 7th Annual International AAC Chat (also called Read-a-Thon, because the chatting is done by typing messages online).  If you wish to participate, join us on the Facebook page International AAC Awareness Month and ask to join the chat, too, if you like.  We will be posting information, resources, advocacy and more throughout the 24 hours of the Chat, which started today (October 24, 2015) at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (USA) and will continue nonstop until 8:00 a.m. tomorrow (October 25, 2015) EDT.  We hope that you will spend time reading, listening, chatting, learning, exploring, teaching, sharing, advocating, and maybe getting involved in some activism online or in your local area today and also moving forward.  Anyone can lose access to their voice at some time in life for various reasons (intubation in the hospital, stroke, injury, illness, cancer, etc.).  It could happen to someone you know--or even to you!--so be prepared with the knowledge that there are many, many other ways to communicate and with the determination to get involved in making sure that everyone has a voice of their choice throughout life to talk to anyone, anytime, anywhere about anything they wish.

Sarah Blackstone, a well-known speech-language pathologist who teaches about AAC said it well: “Despite the proven efficacy of AAC as a treatment approach for individuals with complex communi¬cation needs, an individual’s access to AAC services typically depends upon (1) where they happen to live, (2) what their doctor already knows about AAC and (3) how aggres¬sively they, or their family mem¬bers, seek help from professionals who provide AAC services. Even today there are speech-language pathologists in hospitals, healthcare agencies and private practices who actually turn people away, saying, ‘We don’t do AAC.’“ Sarah W. Blackstone, Ph.D. CCC-SLP, Augmentative Communication News, Feb. 2007

Help us work toward a voice of one's choice throughout life for ALL.  Everyone needs to communicate effectively.  Everyone can and does communicate.  We need to learn to listen and to support communication for all.  Everyone can learn to communicate more effectively.  Presume that everyone has the competence to learn to communicate and act on it now!