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Posted on October 14, 2022

This October, to celebrate AAC Awareness Month, we are sharing the voices of people who use alternative communication on our social media and website.

What is AAC?

AAC stands for augmentative and alternative communication, where people use a range of tools to add to or replace speech, as well as to access digital communication such as messaging, social media and email.

These tools range from paper-based resources, where you can look or touch a word or symbol to indicate your message, to high tech communication devices and software that create voice output.

People can control their communication device using touch, by pressing a button or switch with any part of their body or using eye gaze technology.

Why are we raising awareness?

Most people have never heard of AAC yet 1 in 200 people around the world could benefit from access to it for communication and independence:

75% of those with Parkinson’s disease

70% of people with MND

20-30% of people who have had a stroke

15% of those with learning difficulties

10% of those with dementia

10% of Autistic people

UK data (Creer et al, 2016)

Sharing the voices of our users

This October we are putting AAC users in the spotlight with social media story takeovers every Friday. Two children keen to share their new skills were Liesel and James! Read on to find out how Liesel uses her voice to make decisions in multiple languages, and how James expresses himself through music.


Liesel (or Lili for short) is a four-year-old from South Africa. She was diagnosed with Phelan McDermid Syndrome at 16 months old, which affects her speech and motor skills. Lili communicates with a mixture of paper-based and high-tech AAC using Grid software. She has been communicating in English, however, more recently has started learning German in preparation of her family’s move to Germany this month.

A trio of images of a child with ginger hair. Image 1: she selects words on a device. Image 2: she chooses German words for food in a book. Image 3: she touches art.
Liesel using high-tech and paper-based AAC

AAC has given Lili a voice. Using multi-modal communication, where Lili uses sound, symbols, gesture and more, she has learnt all her letters, recognises the beginning sounds of words, matches objects with words on her communication board, and has developed lots of new skills.

Access to AAC means Lili can connect with others, express her likes, dislikes, wants or desires, and explore language. Throughout her day, she makes choices on paint colours when doing crafts, which clothes to wear, places to go, people to visit and more. Lili also chooses what she wants to eat during mealtimes, watch the video below to see how.






Lili’s mum shares how she is supporting Lili with communication, different activities they use throughout their day and which tools support them! Follow Liesel’s AAC journey on Instagram.


James has Cerebral Palsy that affects his mobility and speech, so uses AAC technology to support his communication and independence. One of the ways James uses his device is to express himself through music! Using an eye gaze camera, James shares his passion for both making and listening to music using Grid software on his Grid Pad device.

James is also able to use his voice to have his say. In the video below, he instructs Alexa to play the song he wants to listen to by using his device with the Amazon Echo.




AAC has supported James to explore his creativity independently and share this with others. His mum has been so inspired by James’ passion for music she has set up a non-profit organisation to make musical participation more inclusive and accessible! Find out more about ‘Accessible Inclusive Music (AIM)’.

Would you like to find out more about AAC?

Work with an AAC specialist to find the technology that can support you to achieve your communication and independence goals.

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