AAC Providers

What are AAC services? | Who is qualified to provide AAC services? | Where can I find a qualified professional? | How can I be sure a professional is licensed and in good standing? | What is a qualified speech-language pathologist (SLP) expected and authorized to do?

What are AAC services?

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) includes all forms of communication (other than oral speech) that are used to express thoughts, ideas, wants and needs. This may include a multi-modal system include facial expressions, gestures, writing or typing, using symbols or pictures or even computerized devices that "speak." Services (i.e., therapy) are typically provided to help individuals select and learn most effective and efficient means of communicating and that best fit the situation.

Who is qualified to provide AAC services?

A qualified professional for AAC services is licensed speech-language pathologist, audiologist and/or teacher of the hearing impaired (Act 238 of 1984, as amended in Pennsylvania's Speech, Language and Hearing Licensing Act). One of these professionals should give and/or direct communication supports and services including: evaluating, treating communication impairments, directing or providing communication supports and services.

State licensure (and/or Department of Education Certification for working in public schools) is mandatory for qualified professionals to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This is the state board's minimal requirement for practice to maintain quality and professional services. AAC services may also be provided by persons employed by the Commonwealth, if AAC services are within the scope of the person's occupation (Communication Supports and Services Bulletin.pdf, Page 4). Read more about qualifications here.

Where can I find a qualified professional?

The below list contains the names of Speech Language Pathologist who provide AAC supports in the Pennsylvania area.

  • You can contact your local Assistive Technology Resource Center to have them help you identify local qualified AAC specialists.
  • You can search ASHA's online database to identify speech-language pathologists and audiologists in your area. Be sure to ask these professionals if they have experience or expertise with AAC.
  • View the document below to see a selected list of providers in PA who have self-identified as AAC providers. NOTE: this is not a comprehensive list.

How can I be sure a professional is licensed and in good standing?

You can search the Pennsylvania Department of State provides an online licensure verification service. Click here to search for license information on individuals and businesses that are regulated by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs.

For more ideas, including questions to ask the provider, see the advice from the Accessible Technology Coalition at atcoalition.org/article/how-find-augmentative-communication-professional.

What is a qualified speech-language pathologist (SLP) expected and authorized to do?

ASHA takes the position that "communication is the essence of human life and that all people have the right to communicate to the fullest extent possible. No individuals should be denied this right, ...[regardless of]... the type and/or severity of disability(ies) they may present." ASHA's Special Interest Division for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (Division 12 ) has identified responsibilities and expectations for SLPs practicing within the area of AAC services. Specifically, the they shall (direct quote, ASHA, 2005 ):
  • Recognize and hold paramount the needs and interests of individuals who may benefit from AAC and assist them to communicate in ways they desire.
  • Implement a multimodal approach to enhance effective communication that is culturally and linguistically appropriate.
  • Acquire and maintain the knowledge and skills (ASHA, 2002) that are necessary to provide quality professional services.
  • Integrate perspectives, knowledge and skills of team members, especially those individuals who have AAC needs, their families, and significant others in developing functional and meaningful goals and objectives.
  • Assess, intervene, and evaluate progress and outcomes associated with AAC interventions using principles of evidence-based practice.
  • Facilitate individuals' uses of AAC to promote and maintain their quality of life.
  • Advocate with and for individuals who can or already do benefit from AAC, their families, and significant others to address communication needs and ensuring rights to full communication access. (end direct quote)AAC Providers List

For more information go to: www.asha.org

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