top of page

AAC Glossary


Aug Com, augmentative and alternative communication, augmentative communication

any means of communication other than speaking used to support individuals with limited or no verbal communication.

Active matrix screen


A computer screen that provides a more responsive image at a wide range of viewing angles (

Alphanumeric or numeric encoding


Messages can be stored under combinations of letters and numbers (alphanumeric) or by numbers alone (numeric) (Beukelman & Mirenda, 1998). See "Encoding" below.

Abstract symbols


Symbols that do not resemble what they represent. For example, using a box with a question mark to represent the word "what".

Aided communication

Aided AAC, aided techniques

Communication that requires something external to the body to represent meaning, for example pointing to a symbol in a communication notebook (Beukelman & Mirenda, 1998)

American Sign Language

ASL, manual sign

A manually (by hands) coded language used primarily by deaf individuals in North America (Beukelman & Mirenda, 1992)

Access method

selection technique, selection method, access method

The way in which the user interacts with an AAC tool to control it for communication; the method an individual uses to select items for communication, e.g. pointing, single-switch scanning, etc. There are two broad categories of access methods: 1) Direct selection and 2) Indirect Selection (Dowden & Cook, 2002).

Aided input


A technique used by the partner to enhance auditory comprehension by the AAC user. The speaking partner uses writing and drawing to supplement the words he or she is speaking, so that the AAC user can better understand. This technique is typically used with adults with receptive language impairments due to aphasia.

Activation feedback


Some devices have settings that determine what the user hears, sees , or feels when interacting with the system. This feedback is not intended for the communication partner; it serves as a way for the user to check for errors during message composition.

Aided techniques

Methods of communication that require something external to the body to represent meaning; for example a book, board or device (Beukelman & Mirenda, 1998)

bottom of page