The field of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is a complex yet rewarding one. It involves using technology and other devices to aid individuals who struggle with verbal communication in expressing themselves. Becoming an AAC specialist requires dedication, commitment, and a passion for helping others. AAC specialists are professionals who work with individuals who struggle with communication and help them express themselves effectively. Becoming an AAC specialist is a journey that requires a certain level of commitment and dedication.
In this blog post, we will discuss what it takes to become an AAC specialist. We will explore the different aspects of this field and provide you with insights on how to enter this rewarding profession.
The first step towards becoming an AAC specialist is to understand what AAC is and how we use total communication to improve accessibility for non-speaking children. AAC refers to the different methods of communication used by individuals who have difficulty speaking, writing, or typing. An AAC specialist needs to have a thorough understanding of the various AAC devices and systems. This includes knowledge of low-tech and high-tech devices, symbols, and gestures. The AAC specialist also needs to be aware of the different approaches to communication therapy and how to tailor them to the individual needs of each patient.
The second important aspect of becoming an AAC specialist is to understand the patient's physical, sensory, and cognitive abilities. An AAC specialist needs to be proficient in seating, positioning, and accessibility as well as have knowledge of feeding and swallowing disorders. They must be able to assess each patient's condition and choose the appropriate assistive technology. Additionally, the specialist should be equipped to help the patients overcome any sensory or cognitive barriers and assist in their motor development.
The third aspect of being an AAC specialist is developing a comprehensive understanding of the patient's social and emotional needs. A successful AAC specialist is one that can offer support to the family, both in terms of education and emotional assistance. The specialist must be compassionate and patient with the patients and their families. They need to create a positive and comfortable environment where the patient can express themselves.
Finally, is the willingness to learn and innovate. The field of AAC is constantly evolving, and AAC specialists need to keep up with the latest technological advances and communication strategies. This includes being open-minded and creative enough to develop unique approaches for each patient. Trial and error are integral in the field, and the specialist must be ready to revise the communication plan if required.
In conclusion, becoming an AAC specialist requires a certain level of commitment, dedication, and compassion. It is a field that involves a deep understanding of various aspects of communication therapy, including technology, physical, sensory, and cognitive abilities, social and emotional needs. An AAC specialist's job is a rewarding one, and there is nothing more satisfying than helping those in need find their voice. If you are determined to learn, think outside the box, and remain open-minded, a career as an AAC specialist may be a path worth considering.