Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) may be appropriate for children with a diagnosis of CAS. Some children benefit from using sign language for some period of time when their speech is not yet fully intelligible. There are many benefits to sign language and other AAC forms detailed in other articles on the website, however several benefits include:
- Allows for continued language, vocabulary, literacy and educational development
- Enables participation in the curriculum
- Increases likelihood that a familiar listener can “catch” the meaning intended from an unintelligible utterance, thus providing communication motivation for the child
- Provides another form of sensory input that can be used as paired association method for triggering “speech motor memories”
- Reduces the communication pressure felt by the child who has experienced a great deal of failure and anxiety in communication attempts, allowing their personal resources to be directed back to the communication process
The use of AAC requires a skilled evaluator and trainer to insure the child’s needs and abilities are properly considered. For SLPs who do not feel adequately trained or skilled in AAC methods, evaluation, and treatment, arrange for or request technical assistance. Please note that with proper planning and implementation, AAC is extremely unlikely to interfere with the child’s development of speech. If providing support to an AAC user, SLPs should familiarize themselves with the benefits and current research literature on AAC.
- Why is There Reluctance to Try AAC with Children with Apraxia? by Gary Cumley, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
- Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) for Children with Apraxia by Dyann Rupp, MA, CCC-SLP
- Sign Language and Cueing to Facilitate Speech Production in Children with Apraxia of Speech by David Hammer, M.A., CCC-SLP
- Using Sign Language for Children with Apraxia of Speech by Sharon Gretz, M.Ed.