We would like to reach as many people as possible, because anyone at any time can develop the need for another way to communicate besides or in addition to speech, called AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) methods. There are not enough speech language pathologists nor doctors familiar with other ways to communicate to recommend the use of these methods for everyone who needs them. The general public needs to know that there are many ways and that they need to pursue and advocate for these methods whenever they have a family member or friend who is unable to speak effectively. Sarah Blackstone says it well:
“Despite the proven efficacy of AAC as a treatment approach for individuals with complex communication needs, an individual’s access to AAC services typically depends upon (1) where they happen to live, (2) what their doctor already knows about AAC and (3) how aggressively they, or their family members, seek help from professionals who provide AAC services. Even today there are speech-language pathologists in hospitals, healthcare agencies and private practices who actually turn people away, saying, ‘We don’t do AAC.’“ Sarah W. Blackstone, Ph.D. CCC-SLP, Augmentative Communication News, Feb. 2007
What will you do this year to help spread the word about AAC methods in your family and community?