Alternative augmentative communication is the process of establishing, through various signs, connections with children who are not able to fully communicate at the verbal level due to the impossibility of full reproduction or perception of speech. In this case, communication must mean not only words but also a huge range of additional visual aids and strategies that create opportunities for the fullest possible expression and understanding of thoughts (Cano et al., 2017). These tools include signs, symbols, pictograms, writing, sign language, as well as visual aids, such as a bulletin board with a calendar, numbers, tally marks, and others.
It can be more difficult for a person with speech problems to talk to others and recognize signs of communication. That is why peer-to-peer communication and social interaction are fostered with the help of singing songs and greeting everyone in a group, and other methods. A picture exchange communication system (PECS) is an additional communication strategy that is also helpful since its purpose is to encourage the child to spontaneously initiate communication (Cano et al., 2017). The method is based on the fact that the reason for communication must precede the actual speech activity. The method begins by identifying potential stimuli, for example, what the child loves and wants.
These visual strategies can be used with a child who is an English language learner or a child with a hearing impairment. The use of additional visual communicative means is necessary for English learners to foster communication, while for the children with hearing impairment, they help to turn children into full-fledged participants in the educational process. Visual aids also allow for achieving harmonization and expansion of the socialization process. They allow the creation of a multifaceted system of communication with persons with limited verbal communication capabilities. In addition, the use of alternative augmentative communication contributes to the development of abstract thinking, the development of skills of symbolic activity, enriching the development of thought processes, and the emotional area.
Cano, S., Collazos, C. A., Aristizábal, L. F., & Moreira, F. (2017). Augmentative and alternative communication in the literacy teaching for deaf children. In International Conference on Learning and Collaboration Technologies (pp. 123-133). Springer, Cham.