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The Source® for Augmentative Alternative Communication
Ages: 3-Adult   Grades: PreK-Adult

Learn the key processes to finding effective solutions in augmentative alternative communication (AAC) and apply them to the vast and ever-changing choices available to your clients. 


  • Learn essential components of AAC assessment, intervention, and collaboration
  • Apply proven intervention principles to
    new technology
  • Create successful communication by matching options to client needs
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** This is a Cloud E-Book that is accessible from any device with Internet access. .

Understand the important issues facing your clients who need AAC and become an effective member of the multidisciplinary team with this Source that tells you:

  • how to help beginning communicators and communicators who already have a system
  • key components of the assessment process and your role on the team
  • essential components of an assessment report and how to target audiences including outside agencies, family, and school staff
  • how to handle funding, transport, and behavioral issues
  • specific strategies for individuals with severe developmental delays and motor difficulties, autism, mild motor involvement, and adults with acquired speech disabilities

Copy the activity pages or print them from the FREE CD.  Extra helps in the book include:

  • tools to assess purposeful responses and fine-motor abilities
  • communication checklist
  • descriptions of non-speaking and high- and low-tech voice output systems
  • assistive technology checklist
  • assessment report template for the Department of Public Aid
  • sample reports, physician letter, and request for a trial device letter

Copyright © 2002

177-page book plus a CD of the reproducible pages, evaluation tools, forms
  • A team approach in AAC intervention is strongly recommended.  A team of professionals can appropriately evaluate the cognitive, linguistic, sensory, and motor abilities of the person, as well as provide interventions to increase the person's operational, linguistic, social, and strategic competence in AAC (Beukelman & Mirenda, 1998).
  • AAC interventions should always be multimodal; they should utilize "the individual's full communication abilities, including any residual speech or vocalizations, gestures, signs, and aided communication (e.g., picture symbols)" (ASHA, 1991, p. 10; In Beukelman & Mirenda,1998, p. 3).
  • AAC interventions should provide multimodal communication that can be used effectively in different situations (Salminen, Petrie, & Ryan, 2004).
  • The characteristics, experiences, preferences, priorities, opinions, suggestions, and expertise of people who use AAC must be employed in the evaluation, design, development, and delivery of AAC systems and services (Blackstone, Williams, & Wilkins, 2007).

The Source for Augmentative Alternative Communication incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). (1991). Report: Augmentative and alternative communication. ASHA, 33 (Suppl. 5), 9-12.

Beukelman, D.R., & Mirenda, P. (1998). Augmentative and alternative communication: Management of severe communication disorders in adults and children. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.

Blackstone, S.W., Williams, M.B., & Wilkins, D.P. (2007). Key principles underlying research and practice in AAC. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 23(3), 191-203.

Salminen, A.L., Petrie, H., & Ryan, S. (2004). Impact of computer augmented communication on the daily lives of speech-impaired children. Part 1: Daily communication and activities. Technology and Disability, 16, 157-167.


Debra Reichert Hoge, Cheryl A. Newsome


Debra Reichert Hoge, Ed.D., CCC-SLP, is a professor in the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.  She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in early intervention, child language development and disorders, low incidence populations, early childhood special education, and augmentative and alternative communication.  Prior to becoming a faculty member at Southern Illinois, Debra taught in the public schools and at a center for autism.  Debra has presented numerous workshops throughout the country on early intervention; assessment and intervention with infants, toddlers, and their families; syndromes; and early childhood special education issues.  She was chosen as an author and presenter on two national in-service grants awarded to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA): ASHA's Building Blocks and ASHA's Interdisciplinary Preschool Project.

Debra is a native and a lifelong resident of St. Louis, Missouri and lives there with her husband, James, and daughter, Jillian Jean.  The Source for Augmentative and Alternative Communication is Debra's third publication with LinguiSystems.  She also co-authored The Source for Syndromes and The Source for Syndromes 2.


Cheryl A. Newsome, M.S., CCC-SLP, is supervisor of Speech-Language Therapy Services for the Belleville Area Special Services Cooperative in Belleville, Illinois.  In this capacity she provides technical support to speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in 23 school districts and serves as the SLP on the Augmentative Communication Evaluation and Support Team for the Cooperative.  Cheryl's primary interest in the field of speech-language pathology involves children with autism, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, and other disorders that create difficulties with oral speech production.  Before moving to Illinois, Cheryl was an SLP in Hawaii and Florida.

Cheryl has presented many workshops, primarily in the state of Illinois, for parents and professionals targeting functional communication strategies and early literacy skills.  She has worked with the Illinois State Board of Education on task forces for establishing certification guidelines for school SLPs.  Cheryl has also served on the Illinois Speech Hearing Association Representative Council from her area group in Southwestern Illinois (SWISHA).  This is her first publication with LinguiSystems.


Intended Audience

This book is written for SLPs with persons on their caseloads who are nonverbal, or verbal but not highly intelligible.  This would include speech-language pathologists involved in early intervention, schools, private practice, hospitals, and home health care.  Audiologists and other adjunct professionals may also be interested in this information as services are often best provided by a transdisciplinary team.

The Source for Augmentative and Alternative Communication provides working professionals, preservice populations, and client families with a ready reference to information on rationale, assessment, and intervention procedures for the nonverbal population.  There is an overabundance of information available concerning augmentative and alternative communication, but our goal is to provide the kinds of functional, useable, "what to do now," and "what to do next" kinds of facts and suggestions.

Specific populations with high percentages of augmentative users are addressed in detail so that this information is readily accessible when professionals are presented with clients carrying these diagnoses.  Although many SLPs may have had some coursework in their preparatory programs, it is frequently heavy on theory and low on applicable methods and techniques.  Many SLPs in training may not yet have had coursework or a client with augmentative communication needs.  This text provides the needed specifics that SLPs and associated professionals can use in their daily work settings.


Historical Overview

The field and study of augmentative and alternative communication is not long steeped in history but rather is relatively new.  Uses of augmentative and alternative communication strategies date back to the 1950s and 1960s with coursework and research emerging during the 1970s and continuing into the present.  Four decades of development have led to great strides in the use of low-tech means as well as high-tech devices.

Advances made by the medical and scientific fields in the last five decades have created a need for augmentative and alternative communication.  Many individuals who previously would have died due to illness, injury, neurological disease, or other causes are now surviving.  Often these individuals can no longer communicate verbally, thus providing the impetus for the advancement of nonverbal means of communication.  (A thorough discussion of the history of the development of augmentative and alternative communication can be found in Zangari et al. 1994.)  From this initial movement following World War II (Lloyd, Fuller & Arvidson, 1997) to the recent past and the passage of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) (PL 101-336, 1990), our society has been made aware of the rights of persons with disabilities.  One of these basic rights is to communicate.

Special education laws have also promoted the use of augmentative and alternative communicative means with children ages 3-21.  The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142, 1975), which has been amended most recently as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Reauthorization Amendments of 1997 (PL 105-17, 1997), calls for the identification of children in need of alternative methods of communication as they begin to attend school.  The provision of services to these children also includes their families and considers their needs for communication outside the school environment.  According to today's standards of least restrictive environment, children who cannot speak or who speak too unintelligibly to be understood are placed in regular education with support for communication.

ASHA has also developed guidelines for SLPs providing services to nonverbal populations.  In a 1991 report, 13 roles and responsibilities for augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) professionals was published by ASHA and includes such duties as identifying possible candidates for AAC, evaluating, coordinating services, and consulting with family and allied personnel as well as the augmentative user (ASHA, 1991).  Another ASHA publication on the guidelines of meeting the communication needs of persons with severe disabilities was published in 1992 and contains a communication bill of rights (ASHA, 1992).  These rights include the right to request, to be offered choices, to protest, and to have access to any needed augmentative or alternative devices.

So as we enter into a new millennium, the focus on AAC continues to expand for SLPs and related professionals in a wide variety of work settings.  The Source for Augmentative and Alternative Communication provides information on assessment for AAC, intervention strategies, teaming, and specifics on populations with a high percentage of augmentative users.  You'll find lists of resources and contact information for companies making augmentative communication devices, as well as books, articles, and websites in the Appendixes.  We hope you will find all you need for service provision within The Source for Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

Debbie and Cheryl