AAC Essentials – For Family, Friends, and Supporters
This course is for friends, family, or direct support professionals for people who use AAC.
About the Course
Are you a family member, friend, or direct support professional for an AAC User? The course 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.
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.
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.
Accessing Other Lessons
We selected the most relevant lessons for friends, family, or supporters 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.
When you successfully finish this course, you will be able to print out a Certificate of Completion.