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Not a Bandage: Advocating AAC assessment in aphasia

  • Euan Robertson

"To achieve real independence, a stroke survivor not only needs to approach the outside world, but communicate in it as well" (Senelick & Dougherty, 2001). Although both the goals of aphasia treatment and the goals of AAC treatment are parallel, AAC is traditionally introduced to an individual with aphasia during the end stages of rehabilitation. As SLPs, if we identify that an individual does not have functional speech, we should feel compelled to explore alternative means of communication to ensure participation in important life activities. Thus, by including AAC as part of our initial assessment battery, we can provide more optimal support to the adult who experiences communication impairments.

In this session, we will review current research discussing the parallel nature of the goals for aphasia and AAC treatments. We will explore what traditional assessment batteries tell us about potential AAC skills and introduce a variety of needs assessment to provide a better insight into the communicative desires of our clients and their communication partners. Through demonstration and video, we will explore a more specific AAC-Aphasia assessment protocol (Garret, Lasker & Fox, 2007). Participants will leave with many formal and informal assessment and implementation tools and resources. 

Level of Session 
Age Group 
Topic of interest to people who use AAC