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MedEd Connections Resource Guide: Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH)

My Child Has Challenges with Expressive Communication, How Can I Support My Child’s Communication with Others?

Communication devices, or augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) can help children who need assistance with expressive communication. These can be low tech or high tech depending on your child’s needs. A low tech option may include a communication board, which is a board of symbols, objects, or pictures to convey concepts. A high tech option might be a communication device which can output speech when the child selects specific symbols. Additionally, there are AAC options for those who have trouble with fine motor movements (moving their hands), such as a switch. We suggest that you consult a professional when determining what AAC would meet your child’s needs, such as a speech language pathologist (SLP), occupational therapist (OT), or teacher of the deaf (TOD).

OCALI’s lending library has communication boards and devices that you or your school team may check out for a free trial period. By doing this, the team can see if the communication board or device addresses your child’s needs before purchasing it. It is highly recommended that you work with an SLP who is experienced in using AAC devices in order to ensure that the device meets your child’s communication needs.

Explore the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association’s (ASHA) compilation of different types of AAC, and considerations for choosing AAC here: