A common misconception is that AAC is not needed or useful for children who can access verbal speech.
While this may be true for some kids, AAC in verbal children can be used to support verbal speech, especially during times of dysregulation, illness, or stress.
I had a client like this I saw for consult recently -- she used to use an AAC device, but it fell by the wayside once she gained more verbal speech. However, in moments of dysregulation, she began to experience self-injurious behaviour, notably head-banging. She was frustrated because she had no way of communicating in moments like these.
Once we introduced AAC again (even though it was years later), she was immediately interested. We were able to program some of her new visual supports from her behaviour team into the program (i.e., "I need a pillow," "it's too loud," etc.) and this helped those behaviours immensely.
Just because our children may seem like they no longer need AAC (or funding services don't want to cover it because they use verbal speech), we need to advocate for our children to have a reliable method of communication available to them at all times.
Do you struggle getting AAC support when a child also uses verbal speech?
by Halle Demchuk, SLP
Paediatric SLP | GLP-Trained Clinician | Owner of HAEPI SLP
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