Assistive communication devices

DEFINITION: Assistive communication devices refer to tools or technologies used by individuals with communication impairments or disabilities to enhance their ability to express themselves, understand others, and participate in social interactions. These devices can include both low-tech options, such as symbol boards or communication books, as well as high-tech options, such as speech-generating devices or eye-gaze systems.


1. What is the purpose of assistive communication devices?
Assistive communication devices are designed to help individuals who have difficulty speaking or understanding spoken language to communicate effectively. These devices enable them to express their needs, desires, thoughts, and emotions, enhancing their overall quality of life and promoting social inclusion.

2. Who can benefit from assistive communication devices?
Assistive communication devices can benefit individuals with a wide range of conditions or disabilities, including speech impairments, language disorders, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or other conditions that affect communication abilities.

3. Are assistive communication devices only electronic or high-tech tools?
No, assistive communication devices can encompass both high-tech and low-tech options. High-tech devices utilize advanced technology, such as computer-based systems or apps, to generate speech or enable communication through alternative means. Low-tech devices, on the other hand, rely on physical tools like symbol boards, gesture cards, or communication books to facilitate communication.

4. How do high-tech assistive communication devices work?
High-tech assistive communication devices often utilize text-to-speech or symbol-to-speech software that converts written or selected symbols into audible speech. Some devices also incorporate eye-gaze or switch-based controls to enable individuals with severe physical disabilities to operate the device independently.

5. Can assistive communication devices help with communication in different languages?
Yes, many assistive communication devices offer multilingual capabilities, allowing individuals to communicate in different languages. The software or apps used in these devices can be customized to support multiple languages, which is particularly beneficial for bilingual or multilingual users.