Augmentative and Alternative Communication
ComKey Therapy specializes in the trial, evaluation, authorization and operations of Augmentative and Alternative Communication Devices (AAC). First, let me explain to you what an AAC device is: AAC stands for Augmentative (they can speak but need help) and Alternative (no language) Communication device. There are three types of device levels that your child's language skills and cognitive ability may be able to utilize regarding the choosing of the communication device (what we call “His/Her voice”):
1. Low technology: PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) this technique is where we use pictures for requesting and answering simple questions. It is more than just pictures: it is a communication system that has been evidence-based and is used by many of our clients.
2. Mid-Technology: Proxtalker - this is a device that has prerecorded words that correlate with a picture such as a picture of a pizza where the recording says "I want a pepperoni and cheese pizza, please." The child places the picture on a communication device and presses the button.
3. High Technology - Speech Generated devices such as Proloquo2go, LAMPS (Language Acquisition for Motor Planning), Unity and many more.
Based on all the many choices, the cost of the different devices and most insurances only approve one device every 5 years, most insurance carriers require a communication device trial for the multiple types of devices. The initial trials may last 7 days or more but once the family, child and the SLP choose an appropriate device for the child, most insurances require a 30-day (in Connecticut) or a 90-day (in Texas) trial on the chosen device. The insurance requires not only an AAC Evaluation which is performed by the SLP but also data on when, where and how the child used the device during therapy sessions and outside of the sessions with family, peers and within the community. This part is vital, if the insurance company does not see the parent’s involvement with the client's use of the device the request for the device will be denied. Remember this is the child's voice and cannot be left on the shelf.
If you have questions regarding different communication options, information on the multiple device choices or are interested in a trial device, would like more information on what is best for your child’s communication needs. Please feel free to contact ComKey at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will have a SLP-AAC specialist get back to you.