Day #25: AAC Awareness Month -- Myth-Busting
A lot of people -- especially parents -- worry that introducing AAC means giving up on speech or sacrificing any potential speech development for AAC development. Three sources can help dispel this myth:
1) Research. Everyone loves to quote the research, because it's...research. It's official, it's science. It's cold, hard facts.
Long story short, the research shows a) no evidence that AAC intervention makes existing speech skills increase, b) positive evidence that in most cases AAC intervention corresponds with an increase in speech skills.
2) Therapist experience. Sometimes research is a little too clinical and just-the-facts, which doesn't do much to alleviate parental fears and anxieties. Any SLP I've ever spoken with -- including myself -- can tell you that they've never had a client who started using AAC and lost speech abilities. And most of the time, they've seen at least a few clients start speaking more after they begin using AAC. This is anecdotal evidence, of course, but it's backed up by the research.
3) Parent experience. Sometimes it might be hard to truly believe that a therapist's opinion is completely unbiased. That's where the opinions and experiences of other parents comes in handy. Other parents have been there, conquered their fears, and come out safely on the other side. Again, this is anecdotal evidence, but it can sometimes be more of a comfort to anxious parents than academic research.