Augmentative Communication: Enhancing communication for persons with special needs

Augmentative or enhancive communication is a media developed to help adults or children with speech impairment or with language disorders such as receptive or expressive disorder.

Expressive/Receptive Disorder: In this disorder the child is incapable of communicating his or her opinions and moods according to their age. This trouble can be detected either from verbal or written language or even both. 

This Enhancive communication is also recognized as alternative communication, functional communication, supplemental communication, facilitated communication or assisted communication. This technology can be accessed through technological devices like computers or handheld devices. Picture communication devices that are of low technology too can be used. 

Language Disorders

Major language Disorders may include, learning disabilities in oral expression or autism, listening conception, persons with developmental delays like (cognitive skills, Fine and Gross motor skills), apraxia or auditory processing disorders will also be benefited from augmentative communication. Students suffering from serious brain Injuries or mentally challenged are also expected to benefit from this Enhancive Communication. Children or persons with feeble hearing or deafness, aphasia or selective mutism, elderly with language or health issues or disorder can benefit from augmentative communication. 

Various AC Devices

Augmentative Communication (AC) Devices include DynaVox, Mayer Johnson systems and (PECS) Picture Exchange Communication Systems. Mayer Johnson devices include Buttons using which people can communicate, Flip ‘n Talk kits, and the enormously advanced Proxtalker.  

RFID TECHNOLOGY is used by Proxtalker to recover language stored on sound tags to produce real sounds. Pick up a tag and place it on a button and press, the Proxtalker device can say the sound, sentence or word that was selected from the tags. 

Proxtalker provides individuals who depend on pictures, objects or symbols to communicate a multimodal sensory support. This tool is considered useful for teachers to help non-verbal students to join in school work also to those who communicate with the help of book and picture exchanging systems. 

In short, an augmentative device can surely help a child to move on in life. It’s up to the parents and special education teacher to decide which tool might be of the child’s assistance, a low-tech or more advanced device both useful at home and at school.


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