What is AAC and assistive technologies

Alternative and augmentative communication (AAC)

What is AAC? By the definition of ISAAC – the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication – AAC is a set of tools and strategies that an individual uses to solve everyday communicative challenges. Communication can take many forms such as: speech, a shared glance, text, gestures, facial expressions, touch, sign language, symbols, pictures, speech-generating devices, etc. Everyone uses multiple forms of communication, based upon the context and our communication partner. Effective communication occurs when the intent and meaning of one individual is understood by another person.

Assistive technologies

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines Assistive Technology (AT) as an umbrella term covering the systems and services related to the delivery of assistive products and services. The definition highlights that AT is not just about products, but also about services and systems able to deliver these products and services. Professional services and providers are needed that can support the user in defining the right AT solution that can be effectively used in an enabling environment.

The WHO-UNICEF Global Report on Assistive Technology (AT) reveals that more than 2.5 billion people need one or more assistive products, such as wheelchairs, hearing aids, or apps that support communication and cognition. Yet nearly one billion of them are denied access, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, where access can be as low as 3% of the need for these life-changing products.

The Global Report provides the best available evidence about the barriers currently preventing access, how access can be improved, and how enabling environments and AT can enable persons with disabilities to enjoy their human rights while generating a tremendous return on investment for governments. The report also makes 10 key recommendations for concrete actions that will improve access to AT, for everyone that needs them. 

Access to assistive technology for children with disabilities is often the first step for childhood development, access to education, participation in sports and civic life, and getting ready for employment like their peers. Children with disabilities have additional challenges due to their growth, which requires frequent adjustments or replacements of their assistive products.

Who needs AAC

Accessibility icon set, Accessibility concept
  • Persons with speech and communication disabilities including those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others (acc.to Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, art. 1).
  • Persons with temporarily speech limitations or impairments due to psychological trauma, physical injury of speech or hearing organs.
  • Persons with speech or comprehension loss as a result of trauma, brain stroke etc.
  • Everyone that needs assistance in communication because of lack of knowing a local language, acting in emergencies, suffering from a soar throat and a lost voice etc.

What we stand for

The AAC in Ukraine community stands for a concept of total communication. We ground upon prof. Stephen von Tetzchner studies in a field of alternative and augmentative communication with symbols and manual signs.

We create and explore different solutions to assist communication. We validate users experience and do polls about communication needs and ACC access. Please watch a video of a local users community leader recorded with speech generating device.

By Isaac, people who are new to the field of AAC may make the mistake of looking for one system – perhaps a “high tech” speech-generating device – to be the “perfect solution.” This is rarely sufficient. There is more to the process than first meets the eye. Features and access strategies must be carefully customized to the individual’s requirements. 

Ukrainian solutions

DyvoGra Social Enterprise logo

DyvoGra Social Enterprise is a Ukrainian provider of symbols. Since 2015 a team of speech and language pathologists and psychologists work upon a localized set of graphic signs. DyvoGra creates books and manuals with pictograms. As social activity some symbol collections are distrubuted for free. Please go to the page with free AAC symbols.

For cooperation or symbols rent please contact info@dyvogra.com

A high tech solution in Ukrainian is a Digital Inclusion platform for communication. More than 300 DyvoGra symbols with a sound in Ukrainian are available online and within the app.

Please contact us with partnership@aac.org.ua