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October is International AAC Awareness Month

Updated: Oct 18, 2019


According to the National Institutes of Health, an estimated 1.3 percent of Americans (about 4 million people) cannot reliably meet their daily communication needs using natural speech (NCBI). Many of these people have no speech at all and also have other physical disabilities that preclude expressive communication using gestures, writing, or typing (AAC Institute).

AAC stands for:

Augmentative and



AAC is augmentative when used to supplement existing speech, and alternative when used in place of speech that is absent or not functional (ASHA).

Some examples of AAC systems include:

  • Picture exchange communication systems (PECS)

  • Homemade binders or books of picture symbols

  • Recorded speech devices

  • Electronic tablet speech application

  • Speech generating devices, referred to as “durable medical equipment” (DME) for private and public health insurance (Vanderbilt University)

The goal of AAC Awareness Month is to raise awareness of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and inform the public about the many different ways in which people communicate using AAC (USSAAC).

AAC Awareness Month began as an initiative of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) in 2007. ISAAC’s goal is to create worldwide awareness about how AAC can help individuals with little or no speech, communicate using assistive technology tools and strategies to solve everyday communicative challenges.

AAC Awareness Month is dedicated to raising awareness of AAC and to inform the public about the many different ways in which people communicate using high-tech or low-tech communication aids and innovative communication strategies.

Visit to learn about AAC Awareness Month activities happening around the world.


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