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Glossary of Terms

Augmentative and Alternative Communication describes the different forms of communication that are used as an alternative to (or that supplement) spoken language. AAC refers to the strategies and resources that are used to enable people who are unable to speak to communicate.

AAC strategy
The method that is used to support communication without speech, which may include the specific resources or describe how they are used.

AAC system 
The combination of resources, strategies and techniques that are used to aid communication for someone who does not speak.

The way in which an individual operates or controls their technology or AAC system. This is usually considered in relation to direct access and indirect access.
• Direct access
This is the quickest way of controlling technology, usually by pointing directly with a part of the body or touch enabling device to make a selection. Eye pointing can also be considered as direct access.
• Indirect access
Indirect access may involve an intermediary step to control the technology, such as using a switch and scanning.

Aided communication 
Communication that requires equipment

Cause and effect
The relationship between an action and a consequence. Understanding cause and effect is vital for communication development.

The passing of information from one person to another. This may or may not be intentional. Communication methods may or may not involve speech.

Communication aid
The resource or equipment that is used to aid communication. This may be a communication board, book or piece of equipment that offers voice output.

Communication board
A communication board uses pictures, images, symbols or words that are used to give meaning. Typically a message is pointed to on the communication board.

Communication book
A communication book contains multiple pages that are used to aid communication.

Communication partner
A familiar person with whom someone can interact with and receive support in communication.

Core vocabulary
A small set of word and phrases that are used most frequently across a range of situations.

Dynamic display device
An electronic communication aid with vocabulary organised into categories. As each category is selected, the display changes to show the contents of that category.

E-Tran frame 
A Perspex frame used as a tool for eye pointing. Objects, photos, symbols, words can be placed on the frame and eye pointed to.

Expressive communication 
The giving of information.

Eye Pointing 
A communication strategy involving looking at something to request or select it.

Eye gaze technology 
Control of a computer or communication aid by eyes.

Fringe vocabulary
A larger set of vocabulary relating to specific subjects and environments.

High tech communication aids
Voice output devices that offer a changing dynamic screen and a synthesised (computer generated) speech.

Light tech communication aids 
Voice output devices that have a static (fixed) screen and have digitised (recorded) speech.

Listener mediated scanning
This is a low tech method of scanning. A communication partner provides a series of choices one at a time for the individual to select from by indicating ‘yes’ as they reach the desired message or item.

Low tech communication aid
A paper based resource to aid communication. This may be in the form of a board or book.

Receptive communication
The receiving of information.

Scanning involves going through a series of options in order to make a selection.
• Auditory scanning
Auditory scanning on an electronic device speaks the message options.
• Automatic Scanning
Automatic scanning on an electronic device repeatedly moves through the message choices. The timing can be adjusted as necessary.

Selection Set
The items or choices available. These may be visual, tactile or auditory.

Sign language 
A language that uses manual gestures for communication.

Touch enabling device
An object that enables an individual with physical disabilities to press keys more easily.

Unaided communication 
Methods of communication (other than speech) which do not require additional resources.

A Voice Output Communication Aid is an electronic device that may have digitised (recorded) speech or synthesised (computer generated) speech and produces spoken messages for people who are unable to speak themselves.

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