Augmentative Communication

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) refers to a variety of approaches used to support, enhance or augment the communication of individuals who are not independent verbal communicators in all settings. AAC includes both low-tech systems such as sign language and eye gaze, as well as high-tech systems such as voice output computer-based communication devices. Children with cerebral palsy, autism, intellectual disability, and neuromuscular disease all may benefit from the use of augmentative communication. Early intervention with AAC facilitates language development for children who are at risk for severe speech impairment. Several studies have shown use of augmentative communication does not interfere with acquisition of natural speech.
Augmentative communication evaluations are provided by a speech/language pathologist working with a team of other professionals. Low-tech strategies may be implemented beginning in early intervention programs. After a child enters the developmental preschool system, AAC services are provided in the school setting.
Utah school districts sponsor the Utah Assistive Technology Teams (UATT), which provides trained assistive technology teams for each district. A wide variety of augmentative communication devices are available for loan to schools through the Utah Center for Assistive Technology. Schools are required by law to provide appropriate augmentative communication systems for children to use at school. Unfortunately, many districts will not allow the school's high-tech AAC devices to go home with students.
Augmentative communication devices may be funded as durable medical equipment through Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance:

Medicaid (see ID providers [72])


Medicare Special Needs Plan (see ID providers [43])

, and

Medical Care Expense Assistance (see ID providers [121])

Private augmentative communication evaluations and training can also be obtained through speech/language pathologists at hospitals or other outpatient therapy clinics:

Speech - Language Pathologists (see ID providers [69])


Hospitals (see ID providers [54])

. Referral to a speech/language pathologist experienced with the use of AAC in children is recommended, and therapists and hospitals in our listings are not necessarily pediatric providers. Private speech/language pathologists may also assist families in implementing augmentative communication in home and community settings.
For examples of available high- tech augmentative communication systems, please consult the following websites:Assistiveware
For further information regarding assistive technology services in Utah, please contact:


Services for Patients & Families in Idaho (ID)

For services not listed above, browse our Services categories or search our database.

* number of provider listings may vary by how states categorize services, whether providers are listed by organization or individual, how services are organized in the state, and other factors; Nationwide (NW) providers are generally limited to web-based services, provider locator services, and organizations that serve children from across the nation.

Authors & Reviewers

Initial publication: September 2008; last update/revision: February 2014
Current Authors and Reviewers:
Author: Laura Barnett, MCSD/CCC