An AAC user indicates a series of numbers on an eye gaze communication board in order to convey a word


Augmentative and Alternative Communication for ASD

SDG using a visual scene display, accessed using a head mouse

A subject uses eye-gaze to indicate choices on a transparent letter-based communication board

What is Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ACC)?

Autistic children can have difficulties understanding or using spoken language. Some might have a language delay. Communication and language can sometimes be hard for them even after they’ve tried language development programs.

Therefore, they might need help to develop spoken language, or they might benefit from a range of options for communicating and understanding communication, including speech, gestures or writing. This is where augmentative and alternative communication can help.

Augmentative and alternative communication systems use hand signs or pictures to represent things and link them with spoken words. Augmentative and alternative communication systems can help autistic children develop spoken language and give them communication options Choose augmentative and alternative communication systems based on children’s strengths and development.Augmentative and alternative communication systems pair tasks, actions, objects or concepts with pictures or hand signs. For example, an apple is paired with the hand sign for apple. The spoken word for the task, action, object or concept is used at the same time as the picture or hand sign.

There are two types of augmentative and alternative communication systems – unaided and aided.

Unaided augmentative and alternative communication systems don’t need any equipment. They use gestures and hand signs to support speech, or as the main way of communicating. For example, they might use Key Word Sign. Key Word Sign is a type of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). It’s a way of communicating that uses hand signs to represent the main or key words in a sentence at the same time as the words are spoken.Other common names for Key Word Sign include manual signing.Key Word Sign is suitable for anyone who has communication and language difficulties, including autistic people.

Aided augmentative and alternative communication systems can be low-tech or high-tech:

  • Low-tech systems use equipment like cards, boards or books with photos or pictures that represent tasks, actions or objects. Autistic children can learn to use these tools to understand what people are saying, ask for what they need, make comments and answer other people’s questions. Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS) and visual timetables are examples.The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is a way for autistic people to communicate without relying on speech. To communicate, people use cards with pictures, symbols, words or photographs to make requests or comments and answer questions. Any autistic person can use the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) gives people without spoken language or with limited spoken language skills an alternative way to communicate. PECS can also increase people’s communication skills. For example, autistic people can learn to use the cards to ask for what they need, make comments and answer other people’s questions.

  • High-tech systems include speech-generating devices. There are also many apps to help children develop communication skills. Speech-generating devices are hand-held electronic devices that play pre-recorded words or phrases when the user touches a switch or presses buttons or keys. Some devices ‘speak’ words as the words are typed on a keyboard.Speech-generating devices are specialised devices used only for communication. They also include tablets, laptops or other common devices with speech-generating apps or functions.These devices are also known as communication devices, electronic augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices or systems, and voice output communication aids.These devices are most commonly used by people who have difficulty pronouncing words because of a physical disability like cerebral palsy or acquired brain injury. Autistic children sometimes use speech-generating devices, particularly when developing speech and language.


Getting Started With Pictures Symbols / Icons

Children who are nonverbal need a way to communicate. One way to facilitate communication is through picture symbols, sometimes referred to as icons.

Find out more about how you can get started using picture symbols to help your child make choices and improve his or her expressive communication skills.

Dynamic Display Devices

Speech generating devices can be divided into two categories: static display and dynamic display.

Dynamic display devices have touch screens that allow a child to access a large amount of vocabulary in one device. Dynamic display devices are typically required by those who need to convey a large number of messages, who are using spelling to convey their messages or who might need an alternative method of physically accessing the device.

What is AAC? No Tech & Low Tech

Examples of AAC Devices

Top 5 Best AAC Devices

What is AAC

The Logan ProxTalker AAC Device Package by Proxtalker (LoganTech) is one of the most well-loved and often-talked-about augmentative and alternative communication devices available today. Utilizing RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology, the ProxTalker is the first picture communication system to actually talk. This exciting mid-tech AAC device retrieves vocabulary stored on sound tags to produce real, audible words, storing up to 1,000 minutes of 8-second sound tags. S

The Randomizer AssistiveCommunicator by Adaptivation review with its amazing scope of applications across a wide range of settings. As a sequential communicator that plays back messages in random order, the Randomizer offers two recording levels and three playback options. Children or their caregivers, teachers, or parents can record messages of up to 90 seconds in length for each level, for a total of three minutes of recording time. Playback modes include single message mode, jumble mode where messages will play back in random order, and eliminator mode where messages occur in random order, but once a message is played, it is not played again until all the messages have been played.

The popular and highly effective Eye-Talks Communicators by Enabling Devices, This non-voice eye gaze communication board works by tracking the user’s eye movement. Various messages or symbol icons are attached to the board, such as words like yes and no, along with the alphabet, short phrases, numbers, and sad and happy faces. To communicate effectively, the child directs their gaze to select these options on the board while the person they’re communicating with observes and tracks their eye movement to ascertain what the child is saying.

Eye gaze communicators are especially helpful for children living with total immobility or very limited movement,. Often utilized in classrooms, therapy centers, at home, and on the go, they provide an important outlet for expression, connection, and interaction.

With its multifunctional versatility, the BIGmack Multi-Color Communicator by Ablenet also boasts one of the lowest price points for a recording and speaking augmentative and assistive communication device. Named for its large 5-inch activation area, the BIGmack provides plenty of tapping space for young users with low physical control. Its brightly colored disc tops come in blue, red, yellow, and green, making it easier to see for low vision users, and more fun to activate.

Assistive Technology: Communication Products

AAC Low Tech Communication Display

Low tech AAC video

Low-tech, core-based communication boards

Assistive Communication Apps Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Augmentative communication is an alternative way to help students and adults with language disorders use expressive language or receptive language. Augmentative communication can be accomplished through assistive technology devices such as computers or hand held devices.Twenty years ago if your child was non-verbal your resources where very limited. Advanced communication was limited to low technology such as picture communication systems and sign language.The iPad has revolutionized the assistive communication world. In the iPad app store there are numerous applications available for individuals with special needs.

Here are seven assistive communication apps for the iPad that you may find useful:

My Talk Tools Mobile

My Talk Tools Mobile for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad enables people with communication difficulties to express their needs and desires to those around them. My Talk Mobile represents a major breakthrough in augmentative, alternative communications (AAC) by making it easy to customize how you communicate through a variety of images, pictures, symbols and audio files including human voice. In 5 minutes, you can create your very own content and communicate in a way that YOU choose. My Talk offers a robust feature set for the price. The app can also be shown on an external display making it great for school.


iConverse is an educational tool designed for young children, autistic individuals, and individuals with other communicative disabilities, and also toddler-aged children who have yet to master language. iConverse is an Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) application for the iPhone and iPod Touch that replaces bulky and expensive communication devices used in the past. iConverse comes with only 6 preloaded image buttons so you will need to do some button making work before you can use it. It also does not come with a scheduler to help with transitions.

Look2Learn – AAC

Look2Learn (L2L), a revolutionary AAC software application for the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad allows individuals to work at their communicative level using photographs to express wants and needs. The easy to use system integrates preloaded vocal output so that individuals can use their “voice”. In addition, users are able to record their own personalized audio and pair it with photos! This is a good app for beginners not willing to shell out more money. One thing to concerned about is that the app can only hold 140 pictures.


Voice4u, is a revolutionary AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) application that helps individuals to express their feeling, thought, actions and things they need. It is a perfect solution for learning and communication for autistic individuals and people around them. With it, you will never have to guess at an individuals’ wants and needs and will break down the barriers of communication for individuals with special needs. Two complaints about Voice4U are that the illustrations are not the best and that you are limited to 9 categories.

iCommunicate for iPad

Allows you to create pictures, flashcards, storyboards, routines, visual schedules and record custom audio in any language. Aside from beeing an AAC device iCommunicate also includes task completion and audio visual prompting. iCommunicate comes preloaded with 10,000 symblstix pictures. You also have the ability to insert Google images and the story boards are printable. One negative is that this app is for the iPad only. The feature set is definitley not as robust as Proloque2Go, but you get what you pay for.


Proloque2Go is the most well known of of all the assistive communications apps on the iPad. It is also one of the priciest. Still the $689 you spend for Proloque2go) is far cheaper than dedicated AAC devices. Proloque2Go is a full-featured augmentative and alternative communication solution for autistic children who have difficulty speaking. Easy to set up and use it provides natural sounding text-to-speech voices, high resolution up-to-date symbols, powerful automatic conjugations, a default vocabulary of over 7,000 items and is fully expandable. The app is very easy for individuals with special needs to navigate through the menus. It has a beautiful graphic display and great voice quality. Proloque2Go is definitely a better bet on an iPad than an iPhone or iPad.

APP2Speak, developed by a speech pathologist, is an easy-to-use app designed for people who have lost their speech as a result of a stroke or traumatic brain injury. With App2Speak, which is available for iOS and Android, people with speech difficulties improve their self-esteem and independence.Gina Baldwin is a licensed speech pathologist with over 35 years of experience in helping people communicate.


Looking to get your feet wet with an AAC app without forking over big bucks? iComm may be for you. iComm lets you load picture and audio and record your own voices. Ideal for children with autism, cerebral palsy, apraxia and down syndrome. A heads up, although this app is free a lot of the features are only available with a $7.99 upgrade so be prepared to layout something. Another downer is that iComm only works with the iPad and iPhone and not the iPod Touch.

Speech Tablet All-in-1 AAC Symbols-Based (AAC Device) with 8.7 inch Galaxy Android Tablet, TalkTablet Speech app,

Via® Pro

Built on the processing power of iOS, the Via Pro offers the familiarity iOS lovers prefer. It’s easy-to-use and intuitive, right out of the box.

The new GoTalk Cover and Stand is a discreet, convenient, easy-to-use tote that fits GoTalk 4+, GoTalk 9+ and GoTalk 20+. This lightweight, durable green vinyl folder holds GoTalks securely when closed and opens easily for use as a stand. GoTalk Carry Stand protects your GoTalk+ and is ideal for classroom, at home or when you re out and about.

TalkBook Four has a vinyl folder with transparent pockets that hold four removable GoTalk Ones. Works well as an affordable, easy-to-carry, four message communication device. Includes TalkBook Four vinyl folder plus 4- GoTalk Ones. Purchase additional GoTalk Ones seperately.

The Accent 1000 comes preloaded with both PRC’s NuVoice® software and Empower™, PRC's new software that's customizable, intuitive and easy to use. (Note: The initial release of Empower supports the Unity and LAMP Words for Life language systems.) The device also offers multiple access options and accommodates the Look™ Eye Tracking System and the NuPoint® Head-tracking System.

The Accent 1000 is locked from computer access and all other non-communication functions. An optional Integrated Feature Pack (IFP) is available for customers who choose to upgrade the device to its full capability

The NovaChat® 5

Designed with an active AAC communicator in mind, the next generation of the NovaChat® 5 is durable, lightweight and portable. As one of the lightest dedicated AAC devices on the market, it also meets and exceeds industry requirements for protection against solids and liquids.

New design is splash-resistant and protects against solid objects larger than 1 mm

Convenient single USB-C port with protective cover charges both device and amp

Sleek, integrated amp can be heard in a variety of environments

Optional hand support available for secure carrying and use

Accommodates single or dual switch scanning via a Bluetooth connection for additional access methods

Integrated kickstand allows device sit upright for easy use

NovaChat 10

For an energetic, on-the-go communicators or easy-going, careful communicators, the popular NovaChat.

7-Message Take or Place N’ Talk Go! Board

Actively engage users in their daily schedule. Our bestselling wall communicator is an effective picture and talking scheduler.

4″ x 5″ Communicator for the VI

Specially designed for the visually impaired, this state-of-the-art communicator has 12 levels, scanning capabilities and large brightly illuminated targets that make it possible to see, select and activate messages

Choice 4 Communicator

This terrific transitional communicator has 12 levels, 300 seconds of recording time and enables users to illuminate objects, photographs or icons sequentially with its brilliant lights

Eye Talks

The eyes say it all with our popular, inexpensive but highly effective eye gaze communication board.

Hip Talk Four Message

Shoot from the hip with this basic communicator which plays four 5-second messages with the touch of a button.

TD Pilot

Control an iPad with your eyes using TD Pilot, an eye tracking-enabled iPadOS device made for people with communication disabilities. TD Pilot is pre-loaded with your choice of AAC apps; TD Talk for literate adults or TD Snap for symbol-supported communicators. I

TD I-110 is a durable touch screen speech generating device for those with conditions such as autism. This communication solution is now designed to keep up with even more of life’s adventures.

GoTalk 32 Functions like the GoTalk 4+, GoTalk 9+, and GoTalk 20+ but with 32 messages plus three core vocabulary keys. The GoTalk 32+ has five levels, giving this talker a 163 message capacity. The message keys record for 10 seconds and the core vocabulary keys record for 17 seconds. Includes convenient shoulder strap for transport.Quickly create great looking overlays with GoTalk Software Package and pairs well with GoTalk 32 Stand

The GoTalk Express 32

The most Advanced GoTalk! Easy to use yet powerful. It’s an ideal bridge between low-tech and dynamic display communication tools with exciting features.

Easy to use .Sounds great ,Extremely durable , Built-in handle ,Overlay storage ,Lightweight ,Five recording levels

Accent 1400

The Most Advanced AAC Solution from PRC, featuring a large 14” screen for individuals with complex access needs or those who want larger icons and better visibility.

Modular: Fully integrated with our newest Look eye tracker for a sleek, all-in-one unit

Splash-resistant: Built with a moisture seal and port covers to repel moisture

Quiet: Completely fanless so the only thing that can be heard is your voice

Colorful: Now available with a wider selection of frames to personalize your device

Bright: A big, high-resolution display that can be seen in all conditions