Adults and AAC

Adults who use AAC are often using devices because of an acquired disorder. This means this population often deals with a life change and very much feels like their life is now a story of Before and After. This is important to keep in mind as we approach working with this population because more counseling may be need to be integrated into services.At this stage we also are dealing with adults that have marriages, kids, other relationships that were built when they had their full language capacity and AAC isn’t just new to the user, but their whole support system.

As our population ages, we hope that the number of AAC users that have used a device throughout their lifetime  increases and demonstrate the power of having communication across the lifespan!

Some general tips for working with adults and AAC

  • Learn as much as you can about their life from them and their family “before” the incident or diagnosis that led them to need an AAC device!
  • Sometimes lower tech devices may be what they need or want, respect their choices. You can provide information but it’s not our choice what communication device they use.

  • Their disorder may have different phases of recovery. AAC could be temporarily needed while they recover, but isn’t the long term means of communication. So make sure to have low tech options around for those folks!

  • Be respectful! These are grown adults, while their language or cognition may be impaired, you shouldn’t talk to them in anything resembling a baby voice or voice you’d use to talk to a small child.

  • Know their diagnosis and their prognosis from other service providers! Nothing is more awkward than getting them confused with another client or not really knowing what they have.