Augmentative and Alternative Communication Systems

HMS’s goal is to identify a way for every child to communicate through voice output.

With dozens of communication devices available, from the most basic to sophisticated high-tech, the device may “speak” a single recorded message when the child hits a switch or a range of messages selected from scanned, multilayered menus.

HMS maintains an inventory of individualized AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) equipment, mounting systems, switch and switch-mounting equipment, computer interface equipment and software, all available for student evaluation, trials and training, both at school and at home. Our therapists are knowledgeable about available equipment and stay current on the latest device models. We also keep a supply of devices for use by students if their primary device needs repair. Following are many of the devices used by students at HMS.

Types of Speech Generating Devices

Dynamic Display devices use LCD display screens that change as selections are made and range from basic recorded voice devices to the most sophisticated computer-based systems.

Static Display and Single Location devices can store a single message or an array of messages recorded into a set number of locations. These devices can be expanded by programming different levels with different vocabulary and having a caretaker switch between the levels.

Access Methods

Direct Selection works by touch. Students can use their hands or other body parts to activate a message by touching a screen or button. Our students often utilize keyguards and other accessories to maximize precision and efficiency.

Switch-based Scanning works by plugging a mechanical switch into a speech generating device. Students activate a switch and scan through selections of vocabulary on a speech generating device to communicate. Switch-based scanning is often accompanied by auditory cues, and may be useful for students with visual impairments and/or limited motoric abilities.

Eye Gaze devices use the latest in eye gaze technology to allow students to make selections by simply looking at their choices.