AAC Essentials – For Administrators and Leaders

AAC Essentials – For Administrators and Leaders

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AAC Essentials – For Administrators and Leaders

This course is for people with systemic or administrative responsibilities related to non-speaking people.

About the Course

This course is for administrators and leaders with systemic responsibilities regarding services for non-speaking people.

It is designed to value your time and give you practical information. The lessons are short and you can do them whenever you like.

If you are interested in different information about AAC, check out the All Lessons course and you can learn about topics not designated for this course.

Speech Generating Devices

We recognize that the term AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) refers to a variety of communication methods including things like body language, texting, and sign language. However, most people use the term “AAC device” to mean a Speech Generating Device, which is any electronic device that someone uses to press buttons and say words. Because of this common usage, we will use the term “AAC device” to mean “Speech Generating Device” in this series.

Ask Questions

In each lesson, there is a button for you to ask a question about the lesson. Please feel free to ask a question and a speech-language pathologist from the TechOWL team will respond within 1-2 business days.

Point of View

You may notice that we direct several of the lessons to the AAC user. This strategy helps us center the AAC user's perspective in our learning. Taking the view of an AAC user helps us think positively about the capabilities of AAC users.

Accessing Other Lessons

We selected the most relevant lessons for administrators and leaders for this course. There are lessons that are not included in this course. However, you can access all the lessons on the All Lessons Page. You do not have to be enrolled in a course to see the lesson.

Our Vocabulary

We know that words matter - especially when talking about talking. Word preferences change over time.

Non-speaking vs. Nonverbal

Today, many AAC users and people in the AAC community lean toward using the terms "speaking" and "non-speaking" instead of "verbal and "nonverbal." Of course, there are other people who prefer the opposite. We try to use words that reflect this diversity of thought.

Person First vs. Identity First

For years, we said, "person with a disability" to assure that we focus on the person before the disability. Times change. Now, most conversations in the AAC user and neurodivergent spaces tend to use identity-first language. Examples of identity-first language are phrases like "a non-speaking person" or "an autistic person." We created these lessons with a mix of identity-first and person-first language. By including both forms, we hope to honor individual preferences.


Because all AAC users are unique, we use a mix of male (he/him), female (she/her), and gender-neutral pronouns (they/them) throughout these lessons.

If needed, you will be able to print out a Certificate of Completion upon completion of this course.