Introduction to AAC


This course was designed for those new to the field of AAC (augmentative and alternative communication). It provides information on AAC, who uses AAC, stakeholders and goals based on user values. Components of AAC systems are reviewed.


Katya Hill, Ph.D, CCC-SLP

• Does not have any financial relationships to disclose. However, many of the concepts, principles and models presented are from her publications, research, patents and authored products. Any revenue from products goes to the AAC Institute, a nonprofit organization.
• Has a nonfinancial relationship. Dr. Hill is the Executive Director of the AAC Institute, a volunteer position.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of this activity, participants will be able to:

  1. Define augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)
  2. Define the goal of AAC
  3. Identify AAC stakeholders
  4. Discuss the values of people who use AAC
  5. Classify the range of AAC technology; and
  6. Identify the primary components of AAC technology


This activity is offered for up to 0.3 CEUs (3.0 hour of instruction).

Course Fee

 Free; This course is without charge. However, your generosity will help grow our advocacy efforts, internet-based course offerings, podcasts and webinars, and continue to help people using AAC. Please consider a donation to AACI.  All donations are tax-deductible.

Module 1 Description, Learning Outcomes, Author, Outline
Unit 1 Introduction
Module 2 Introduction; Definitions; Speech, Language, Communication; Multi-Modal; Goal of AAC; Supporting documents
Unit 1 Introduction
Unit 2 Defining AAC
Unit 3 Speech, Language and Communication
Unit 4 Multi-Modal Communication
Unit 5 American Speech Language Hearing Association
Unit 6 Overview of AAC
Unit 7 The Goal of AAC
Unit 8 Supporting Professional Documents
Unit 9 ASHA Documents
Unit 10 Consumer Protection
Unit 11 AAC Rules of Commitment
Unit 12 United Nations Convention
Unit 13 In Summary: Fluency
Module 3 Who uses AAC; Terminology; Prevalence of AAC; AAC Professionals and Stakeholders; AAC Values; Achieving the Goal of AAC
Unit 1 Who Uses AAC
Unit 2 Terminology
Unit 3 Congenital Disabilities
Unit 4 Acquired Disabilities
Unit 5 Clinical Terminology
Unit 6 Prevalence of AAC
Unit 7 Who Are the AAC Stakeholders?
Unit 8 Consumer-Centered Services
Unit 9 AAC Professionals
Unit 10 Other Important AAC Stakeholders
Unit 11 What Is Valued by People Who Use AAC?
Unit 12 Achieving the Goal of AAC
Module 4 Hisorical Milestones in AAC
Unit 1 Historical Mileposts
Unit 2 Early Years of AAC
Unit 3 Bliss Symbols & Shirley McNaughton
Unit 4 Trace Center and Greg Vanderheiden
Unit 5 Application of Single Switch Scanning
Unit 6 Early Publications
Unit 7 Speech Output
Unit 8 Microprocessor Technology Comes to AAC
Unit 9 AAC Language Representation Methods Expand
Unit 10 Professional Organizations - ISAAC
Unit 11 Touch Screens
Unit 12 Pittsburgh Employment Conference for Augmented Communicators
Unit 13 AAC Performance and Outcomes
Unit 14 Legislative Milestones
Unit 15 Summary
Module 5 Classifying AAC Interventions
Unit 1 Classifying AAC interventions
Unit 2 Unaided
Unit 3 Aided
Unit 4 Low-technology
Unit 5 Light tech
Unit 6 High technology
Unit 7 Review AAC Classification System
Unit 8 Word of Caution
Module 6 Components of AAC Assistive Technology
Unit 1 Components of AAC Assistive Technology
Unit 2 Language
Unit 3 Alphabet-based methods
Unit 4 Single meaning pictures (symbols)
Unit 5 Semantic Compaction™
Unit 6 AAC Language Application Software
Unit 7 Hardware
Unit 8 Non-Dedicated AAC Systems
Unit 9 Control Interfaces for Dedicated Technology
Unit 10 Touch Screen Interfaces
Unit 11 Hybrid Displays
Unit 12 Hardware – Outputs
Unit 13 Speech/Auditory Output
Unit 14 Outputs – Integrated AAC Systems
Unit 15 Data logging / Language Activity Monitor
Unit 16 Other Hardware Considerations
Module 7 Components of AAC Assistive Technology (cont.)
Unit 1 Components of AAC Assistive Technology (cont.)
Unit 2 Direct Selection
Unit 3 Scanning
Unit 4 Coding
Unit 5 Choosing the Selection Technique and Interface
Unit 6 Accessories and Services
Unit 7 Services
Unit 8 Summary
Unit 9 Course ID #2: CEU Evaluation