What is augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)?

If your child has a neurological condition, he or she may have difficulty communicating effectively with others. Alternative methods of communication may be helpful towards improving communication between you and your child.

This information is intended for general information. Please consult your speech therapist for specific advice.

Types of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)

Suitable for Communication Function Classification System (CFCS) Level III or IV

1. Alphabet boards

  • Suitable for a child who can read and spell

  • These boards include the letters of the alphabet, along with some common phrases and responses (e.g. yes/no)

  • This allows your child to spell out his/her wants and needs

2. Picture boards


  • Suitable for a child who can identify pictures/drawings

  • These boards can be customised according to your child’s needs/wants   

  • They may be organised by categories to allow for easy access 

  • The number of pictures per board may vary depending on your child’s abilities 

  • The child will select the target picture indicating his/her request

The above augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) mentioned may be accessed differently depending on your child’s motor skills. They can be accessed through:

  • An eye gaze or blinking

  • Pointing

  • Activating a switch

Suitable for Communication Function Classification System (CFCS) Level V

1. Communication books

  • Suitable for a child who has significant difficulties communicating effectively with familiar people

  • A communication book may help you and others caring for your child understand them better

  • Do include: You child’s favourites, how your child reacts when they are happy, sad and/or angry

  • Bring this book and share it with your family, your child’s therapists, teachers and friends

  • Update them regularly as your child’s communication may change as they develop and learn

Ref: K21