NIDILRR-funded Consumer Products: Augmentative and Alternative Communication

People with disabilities may need augmentative and alternative means to communicate with the world. This may be due to their specific disability, including sensory disabilities (blindness or hearing loss) and intellectual or developmental disabilities (Down syndrome or autism spectrum disorders). This may also be due to an injury, such as spinal cord injury (SCI), burn injury, or traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Just as their peers without disabilities, people with disabilities may use different types of tools and systems to communicate and participate in their communities. These systems, techniques, tools, strategies, and communication devices are known as augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). They may include braille, sign language, letter boards, speech-generating or communication devices, AAC apps on mobile devices, and symbol cards, among others. People with disabilities who use AAC describe various benefits in the use of AAC, including stronger friendships and more frequent social interactions, deeper social roles, increase independence, greater participation in their family lives and communities, improved information sharing with medical professionals, improved personal safety, an increase in employment opportunities, and improved mental health, among others. Without AAC technology, people with disabilities may experience challenges when communicating with others. They may experience frustration and greater vulnerability – especially when alone in a care setting. They may face more social isolation and loneliness and may feel shut out of important decisions over their own life. They may be unable to show what they know or can learn, which may decrease their access to education, employment, and community participation opportunities.

NARIC’s information specialists are often asked for information and resources about AAC from people with communication disabilities, their families, and service providers. This month, we are highlighting evidence-based consumer products from the NIDILRR community for this community, which may include guides, calendars, factsheets, and more.

Below, you will find just a few examples of evidence-based consumer products produced by the NIDILRR community:

To learn more about these and other products from the NIDILRR community, contact NARIC’s information specialists.

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
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