The Bridge School
Self-Determination Program

Know Your AAC

Students who have complex communication needs rely on a variety of communication systems and strategies to meet their daily communication needs. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) refers to the ways in which someone's communication skills are combined with personalized strategies and appropriate tools to maximize effective and efficient communication.

Self-determination is an appropriate goal for individuals of all ages, regardless of type or severity of disability.

The building blocks of self-determination include learning to apply skills in four main areas (McNaughton, Rackensperger, Wehmeyer, Wright, 2010):

  • Self Knowledge
  • Decision-Making
  • Communication
  • Goal Setting and Attainment

For students who use AAC, knowing yourself includes knowing your unique communication styles, strategies and tools. It includes:

  • Building an awareness of your special collection of AAC tools
  • Learning about using certain communication tools for certain purposes
  • Learning about nonverbal communication and body language
  • Learning about the responsibilities for the care and maintenance of your communication systems
  • Learning about how to advocate for what you want in your AAC systems, including vocabulary, layout and overall design
  • Learning about different ways to communicate to achieve a goal, make a choice and have your opinion heard

Know Your AAC Activities

Activities 8-11 help students who use AAC develop:

  • An increased awareness of their AAC systems and partner strategies
  • An awareness of key communication skills for self-determination, such as self-advocacy
  • An increased understanding of interactional styles