Jennifer Katz, Inc. offers
Comprehensive Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) evaluations
Device training for client, family and team members
Detailed report outlining the appropriate recommended technology
Ongoing collaborations with all team and family members
What is AAC?
Augmentative and Alternative Communication, or AAC, is any combination of unaided or aided communication modes including facial expressions, pointing, eye gaze, sign language, picture exchange, visual support strategies or low tech to high tech speech generating devices used as a supplement or alternative to oral speech, enabling an individual to communicate needs, wants and thoughts to another person.
Will the use of AAC prevent can individual from becoming verbal?
No, research shows it facilitates verbal language and lessens the frustration of not being able to communicate needs and wants and thoughts.
I have been told that AAC Communication systems are expensive. How can I get help to pay for one?
There are several primary funding sources for augmentative communication devices available: Private Medical Insurance; Medi-CAL, Cash payment. Most state programs and many private insurance plans will cover AAC devices when they are necessary to treat a severe expressive communication disability.
Private organizations including churches, synagogues, fraternal organizations, and businesses can serve as alternative funding sources. Loan closets run by local chapters of the ALS Association, MDA or evaluation centers that provide augmentative communication services are able to lend devices to individuals either in the application process or for those who are ineligible for funding elsewhere.
How long does the funding process take?
It depends on the funding source and the completeness of the paperwork that you submit. As a rule it usually takes 30 – 60 days before you receive your AAC system.
AAC classification systems
No-Tech/ Unaided Communication Systems: An individual uses with no additional tools or technology such as motor behaviors, gestures, vocalizations, verbalizations, proxemics (approach, avoidance), eye gaze, and facial expressions.
Low Tech: These are “aided” communication strategies (i.e., requires some type of external assistance for the symbols) which do not run from a power source–such as picture or object communication, PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), partner assisted auditory scanning, etc.
Light Tech: Voice output communication systems which are typically battery operated and have a static (non-changing) display. Examples are Big Mac, Rocker Plate Talker, Step by Step, Cheaptalk, Tech Talk and Go Talk.
High Tech: Systems typically requiring an electronic power source and having a dynamic (changing—i.e., computerized LCD screen) display such as a DynaVox Maestro, a Prentke Romich Accent, a Saltillo Nova-Chat or an iPad (with an appropriate AAC app).