Developmental Disability Services


Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

The Communication Disorders Treatment and Research Clinic (CDTRC) provides speech pathology intervention to those who have communication difficulties resulting from lifelong disability. Many people with lifelong disability have problems communicating with others including:

  • problems in understanding language
  • speech that is difficult to understand
  • not being able to talk
  • problems talking with other people


What do we offer?
The CDTRC aims to provide the best possible communication service for people with complex communication needs. Communication is a basic human right and it is essential for learning and living. We offer a variety of strategies to assist you to develop communication skills. These include strategies to aid understanding as well as those to help you communicate better.

What is AAC?
AAC refers to Augmentative and Alternative Communication – approaches and communication systems that make it possible for a person without speech to communicate. There are all sorts of AAC systems – from manual signing to symbol boards to computer technology. AAC is anything that assists someone to express him/herself.

What will happen?
We will tailor a package to suit your needs. We like to work in a flexible manner with you. Each person seen at the CDTRC will be involved in:

  • assessment
  • constant evaluation questionnaire
  • discussion
  • observation intervention strategies


Who does the work?
Speech Pathology students supervised by an experienced Clinical Educator/Speech Pathologist. You will work with the student speech pathologists. To give you the best help we like to work with many of your communication partners, and if possible, in lots of the places where you need to communicate.

Who monitors the work?
We thrive on feedback – so please let us know how the sessions are going. We want to know how you are feeling. Tell us what is working, what needs further thought and how we can improve our service to you. Sometimes we will ask you about the service – please tell us what you think.

Why AAC?
With AAC, people can make friends, go to school or work and participate in their community. They can express their wishes and feelings, and make choices about their lives. Augmentative communication gives individuals capacities that many people take for granted: straight-forward social interaction, spontaneous expression, and emergency communication.