AAC approach for communication development in Down syndrome

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects an individual’s physical and cognitive development. Individuals with Down syndrome often face communication challenges due to speech and language delays, making it difficult for them to express their needs, thoughts, and emotions effectively.

It is not hidden and cannot be denied at all that some individuals with disabilities like Down syndrome have difficulties using spoken language. This is where Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) methods come into play.

Comprehension would be hard for them even after they have tried language development programs.
They are helped by number of approaches and strategies like gesturing, facial epressions, writing, body language.

This is where augmentative and alternative communication can help
Augmentative and alternative communication systems pair tasks, actions, objects or concepts with pictures or hand signs. For e.g the world ok , want or eat is paired with a picture or hand sign with these words
It is also believed that using an AAC can slow down the epressive language skills and the child would avoid speaking at all. This is not true at all.

AAC refers to any means of communication other than spoken language. It includes communication aids such as picture cards, communication boards, sign language, and electronic devices that speak for the individual. AAC can enhance communication, improve social interaction, and boost self-esteem for individuals with Down syndrome.

An AAC works like a foundation or readiness program for language and oral speaking skills . This is well supported by research
AACs work on two main steps that are required for good social communication.

Let see those two steps

Step 1: Augmentative and alternative communication systems are an effective way for children to learn and use early words. That’s because children remember the speech sounds and the visual image of the object, picture or hand sign that’s paired with the word. This is likely to help autistic children who respond best to information that’s presented visually.
Step 2: Augmentative and alternative communication systems are improving children’s understanding of words. This is because speech on its own can be very quick, whereas a visual image lasts longer and often stays still, giving children more time to understand the information. Also, people tend to slow down when they’re using visual aids or hand signs.
Thus AACs is purely working in the direction of developing communication and leading the child to be an independent talker.

AACs are a blessing to the world of disability and should not be criticized.These are active catalyst in which a child on spectrum can communicate needs, feelings easily and in positive ways .
AACs improves understanding between you and your ward.
AACs are easily available and at access to a non verbal child thus it creates less stress to the child.

AAC methods can also help individuals with Down syndrome improve their social interaction skills. By having access to effective communication tools, individuals with Down syndrome can better express themselves and interact with others, building social connections and friendships.

AAC methods play a crucial role in improving communication for individuals with Down syndrome. These methods can help individuals express their needs and wants more effectively, improve social interaction skills, and enhance their overall quality of life. By using AAC methods, individuals with Down syndrome can become more independent and confident in their communication abilities.

Less stress and better communication via AACs is eventually leading to a stronger relationship

Creative Efforts and Honest opinion by – Heena Sahi

Creative representation for this blog is done by our extremely talented CreativeSaathi associate Vinayak Raj

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