3 Myths vs. Facts about Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Enrichment Therapies

March 13, 2023

Mom and a child looking at an iPad

By: Ashley Conrad, M.A., CCC-SLP

When you think of AAC, what comes to mind? Children who are nonverbal? Children who have limited verbal speech and language skills? These are thoughts that many people have due to myths revolving around AAC use. 

What is AAC? AAC stands for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Augmentative means to add to a person’s speech while alternative means to use instead of speech. When put together, Augmentative and Alternative Communication includes all the ways people communicate in addition to talking. AAC use comes in many shapes and forms, such as picture cards/boards, communication books, pen and paper, and/or high-tech communication devices. 

There are some misconceptions about AAC, so let’s dive into three myths and facts!

Myth #1: AAC use will prevent a child from speaking verbally. 

Fact: Research shows that the use of AAC does not negatively impact speech production, but actually supports speech production. When a child is using a form of AAC, it is important to target communication via the AAC system while simultaneously targeting verbal speech production. 

Myth #2: AAC is reserved for children who are nonverbal

Fact: AAC use is appropriate for people who are nonverbal, verbal, or minimally verbal. AAC is utilized to assist with effective and functional communication. While AAC is great for children who are nonverbal, it is also appropriate to use AAC for verbal children. For example, AAC is appropriate for children with decreased speech intelligibility. 

Myth #3: AAC requires numerous prerequisite skills. 

Fact: There are NO prerequisites for AAC use! While there are many prerequisite skills that speech-language pathologists may look for when determining an appropriate AAC method, such as receptive language skills, motor skills, and/or motivation to communicate, it is not a requirement to demonstrate certain skills to “qualify” for AAC use. 

Get Speech Support with ETLC!

Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center provides individualized speech and language support in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center, our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success. Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.


740 Community Drive, Unit A

North Liberty, IA 52317




5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300

Johnston, IA 50131


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