ERIC Number: ED493073
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Opening the Doors of Communication: A Handbook about Strategies and Implementation of Communication Tools for Your Child. Second Edition. CRC-8
Communication is accomplished in many ways--through gestures, body language, writing, and speaking. Most people communicate verbally, without giving much thought to the process, but others may struggle to effectively communicate with others. The ability to express oneself affects behavior, learning, and sociability. When children are unable to communicate, they often become frustrated and overwhelmed. A toddler's anger when his parents cannot understand what he wants illustrates the situation. Fortunately, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) offers individuals with disabilities a voice. AAC refers to all forms of communication that enhance or supplement speech and writing. AAC tries to compensate, temporarily or permanently, for significant disabilities affecting speech, language, and writing. AAC includes technology ranging from simple techniques to complicated devices. It includes pointing to pictures, objects or symbols; using sign language or body language; and eye-gazing (following cues given by the eyes), as well as talking switches, communication devices, and computers. When combined, these methods may help develop language for individuals who do not speak, those who cannot speak clearly, or those who cannot express their ideas so that others can understand them. This guide seeks to provide parents with helpful information as they navigate their way through the process of selecting a device based on their child's communications needs and desires. It suggests key items to consider when assessing a child for a communication device such as: (1) Method of access; (2) language system; (3) durability; (4) portability; and (5) the flexibility of the device. A list of strategies for implementing an AAC device is provided, in order to support and challenge the child. Also provided is a list of resources for picture and symbol systems, a list of top web sites on AAC, and vendor contact information. [This document was prepared by the Simon Technology Center, a project of PACER Center.]
Descriptors: Disabilities, Cues, Sign Language, Nonverbal Communication, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Assistive Technology, Audio Equipment
PACER Center. 8161 Normandale Boulevard, Minneapolis, MN 55437. Tel: 800-537-2237; Tel: 952-838-9000; Fax: 952-838-0199; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.pacer.org.
Publication Type: Guides - General; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Parents; Teachers
Authoring Institution: PACER Center, Inc., Minneapolis, MN.