Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) for Cerebral Palsy

Augmentative and Alternative CommunicationCerebral palsy is a neurological disability with a whole host of symptoms. Amongst other things, those who suffer from this disorder have a very difficult time accomplishing tasks most of us take for granted. Cerebral palsy certainly affects a person’s muscles, due to problems in their brain. Essentially, the brain sends out the wrong information to the body’s extremities, which results in things like spastic behavior. Another common problem people with cerebral palsy have is their inability or near-inability to speak, which is why Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ACC) becomes so important.

What Is Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)?

ACC refers to a number of different types of communication strategies designed to help those with oral communication challenges express themselves. However, just about everyone has utilized some form of ACC at one time or another. This may have meant waving, writing or just making a gesture with your hands. Children who have cerebral palsy, though, may need to use ACC for all their communication needs.

Using ACC can be done with or without communication accessories or devices. Those methods that do not involve tools include:

  • Body language
  • Hand gestures
  • Sign language

Tools that can help people use ACC include:

  • Whiteboards
  • Chalkboards
  • Electronic devices like laptops, desktops and tablets
  • Speaking or speech generating devices
  • Eye movement devices

How Can ACC Technology Help Someone Speak?

Thanks to modern technology, ACC methods can actually be leveraged to help a person speak or otherwise communicate with sound. One great example of this is an app made by Dynavox. This app was developed to help a wide variety of people with speech disabilities communicate with those around them.

Better still; the app was designed to also help those who may display problems with cognition. Games are available that will strengthen their intellectual abilities. By helping to create new neuron pathways, it is possible that these games may actually lead to effective communication in individuals who would have otherwise never had a chance.

Furthermore, these exercises translate seamlessly into communication with family members, friends, and caregivers because many involve word pictures that correlate with communication functions.

The Promise of Dynavox

Tackling the problem of communication with people who have cerebral palsy is never easy. However, Dynavox has proven it has a lot of potential. It is already shown that it can help people with the disability communicate with those around them. It can even help someone who has cerebral palsy speak with another person suffering from it too.

One way it does this is by making it easy for disabled people to pick out pictures associated with words and phrases. Other modes of communication are also available through Dynavox that make it easy for someone to express themselves.

The goal of this technology is not to just help someone with cerebral palsy communicate when they are hungry or want to watch TV though. It is aimed at allowing these people to lead healthy, productive, and satisfying lives with fully-developed relationships. Thanks to Dynavox, many forms of conventional employment are now possible too.

Who Can Use This Technology?

ACC is meant to be used by anyone who needs help communicating, no matter what type of intellectual disability they suffer from. As just about everyone has either a smart phone or computer these days (many also have a tablet), the app is an easy way for an individual to get started.

Though there are many ways of treating and accommodating cerebral palsy, recent developments with ACC may prove to be the most promising when it comes to communication.

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