What is AAC?

A communication aid enables a person to communicate more effectively with those around them when they cannot depend upon their own speech.

Communication aids are also known as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems.

At AAC WEST we specialise in devices that allow people to use a machine to have a voice (high tech), and paper based systems (low tech) that allow people to communicate complex messages. The AAC solution varies to suit the individual’s abilities and needs. 

Examples of communication devices

    Dedicated communication aids
    Tablets running communication Apps.
    PCs or Laptops running communication software
    Multi functioning devices


Dedicated Communication Aids










There are also a number of ways an individual might access a device depending on their abilities.



Tablet running symbol based software


Examples of Access Methods

  • Direct access
  • Switch operated
  • Eye Gaze
  • Alternative mice

Symbols, Photos and Text

Communication Devices can be symbol, photo or text based and often combine all three.   


Voice Output and Voice Banking

Software packages come with a selection of digital voices.  The volume, pitch and speed of these can be adjusted.

Voice banking is a process for creating a personalised digital voice.  Individuals record themselves reading sentences into a voice banking software program which then creates a digitalised version of the person’s voice.

If you have a degenerative condition that is likely to affect your speech, we recommend you bank your voice as early as possible.  The earlier you do it, the better the quality of the digital voice.  There is also the option for someone to record on your behalf, and options of blending, repairing and merging voices in some software.

Most voice banking software allows you to record your voice for free, listen to the voice and only pay at the point of download. AAC WEST are not able to support with funding for voice banking, but your Local Speech Therapist can support you with seeking funding from the charities that purchase of the voice.