Considering augmentative communication? You might not need an SLP. There are times when you can figure out quite well what may work on your own. For instance, will you have a temporary loss of speech? Do you have literacy skills? You might be able to work with the tech you already have. With an iPhone, you can MacGyver Text to Speech using accessibility features and your Notes app. Watch this TikTok Video to see how.
What if you support someone who has a disability that prevents them from talking effectively? Do they understand much of what you say? Do they find a way to engage in conversation without using words? Do they enjoy playing games or videos on a smartphone? You might want to borrow an iPad, or other communication device, from the state AT Lending Library. It’s completely free. Try something out for nine weeks and see if it works! If you have the means, you can then finance that communication device on your own.
When do you need an SLP? It is true that only a licensed, certified speech language pathologist can perform an AAC evaluation. Only an SLP can write an evaluation report which can be submitted to insurance. And, yes, an SLP can tell you a lot about the underlying processes keeping someone from talking. They can tell you a lot about the ways in which someone understands speech, even if they can’t speak.
Of course, AAC can be expensive. If you need insurance to get the device, find an SLP who can help you get coverage for the tech you need.
Still not sure whether or not you need an SLP? Use the decision tree below to help you figure it out. Thanks, Kim Singleton! And please feel free to contact us. We would love to help.
Do you need a formal evaluation to get an AAC device?
Step 1 – Can you use an iPad?
Yes – go to step 2.
No – Schedule a complete AAC evaluation with a speech-language pathologist. You might need specialized adaptations to get the best AAC solution.
Unsure – In Pennsylvania, TechOWL offers free AAC demonstrations and loans of AAC devices to help you make an informed choice. We have speech-language pathologists on staff who can assist you through video or live demonstrations as well as phone calls. Personal AAC Services Link.
All states in the US have programs like TechOWL. Find your AT Act program at: State AT Act Programs.
Do you know which AAC app you want?
You will need an AAC app from the app store. The better ones cost between $150 – $300. There are many different ones from which to choose.
Yes – Go to step 3.
No or Unsure – You need to explore a tablet-based AAC device with several different AAC apps installed. In Pennsylvania, TechOWL offers free AAC demonstrations and loans of AAC devices to help you make an informed choice. TechOWL has speech-language pathologists on staff who can assist you through video or live demonstrations as well as phone calls. Personal AAC Services Link.
All states in the US have programs like TechOWL. Find your AT Act program at: State AT Act Programs Link.
Can you spend approximately $600 for a complete AAC device?
If so, you do not need a prescription from a doctor or a written justification from a speech-language pathologist. If you already have an iPad, you will only need an AAC app. The better ones cost between $150 – $300.
Yes – Go to step 4.
No – You will need a formal AAC evaluation and report as well as a physician’s prescription to submit to your insurance company.
Unsure – Consider raising the money through donations from friends and family. You might want to create a GoFundMe project. If you need more help exploring funding sources, contact TechOWL for some ideas.
Do you know how to get started once you have an iPad and an AAC app?
Yes – GREAT! – Get started!
No or Unsure – In Pennsylvania, TechOWL has a variety of resources to help you get started. Check out the resources here. In addition, you can contact us with questions or schedule a video consultation with a speech-language pathologist on staff: Personal AAC Services Link.
When do you need to have a comprehensive AAC evaluation and services by a speech-language pathologist?
- If you need special equipment to use a tablet such as eye-gaze technology or switches, you will need a complete AAC evaluation.
- If you need the AAC device to be funding through medical insurance, you will need a comprehensive AAC evaluation.
- If you have continuing complex communication needs, seek the services of a speech-language pathologist.
Do you still have questions? Are you considering borrowing, but not sure what to try? You can reach us at: