What is AAC?

Augmentative and alternative communication is essentially the use of non-speech forms of communication to either supplement or replace  spoken communication.  It includes the use of high-tech tools (e.g., iPads with communication software on it, dedicated devices), low-tech tools (e.g., a picture book, topic displays, visual schedules, first/then displays) and no-tech solutions (e.g., manual signs).  While there are a range of tools, a skilled and knowledgeable SLP should complete a feature matching assessment to ensure that the tool(s) selected are appropriate for each individual learner. 

Will my child stop speaking if he/she uses AAC?

That is a very common concern; however, both anecdotal evidence – and far more importantly – scientific research has illustrated the opposite effect: AAC often helps improve spoken language abilities! AAC helps build the language foundations that often help bolster spoken language abilities.

My child was just diagnosed with autism. Should I go buy my child an iPad with the communication application I just heard about?

No!   Just like not all pens or computers are right for every single person, all communication applications are not right for every person either.  Further, it may be the case that a dynamic display device (e.g., an iPad, a dedicated device) may not even be appropriate for your child.  It is important to have a knowledgeable SLP determine suitable options using a feature matching process.  

Do you work with dedicated devices?

We are trained in a wide variety of dedicated and integrated devices.  Our AAC evaluations, however, will focus on commercially available products because, unless you have Mass Health, dedicated devices would cost you more than  commercially available products, in addition to months of delay and a big headache.  Additionally, where the majority of patients seen here do not have physical challenges accessing the device, the dedicated devices that have robust alternative access features are often not required.

Do you accept insurance?

YES! Abramson AAC now accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS)!  While additional insurances are not accepted, a Superbill may be provided upon request.  You can use that Superbill to request out-of-network reimbursement from your insurance provider.

Why should we come to see you when we can just go through insurance?

It’s not quite that easy! Most centers accepting insurance have a 6-8 month wait list.  Then, if you want to pursue a “dedicated device” (i.e., one funded by insurance), you have a ~6-9 week window of filling out paperwork and waiting before a trial starts.  Then the trial starts and if a device is determined to be appropriate, a report must be written and submitted to insurance, etc.  If you do not have Mass Health as a secondary, you would be responsible for paying 20% of the cost anyway – which often runs around $1,000.  So rather than waiting nearly a year to get started, you could come see me as soon as you’d like and I can get you up and running in no time! 

We live out of state.  Can you help?

Yes! While in-person evaluations are most effective, we can connect through telepractice, depending on licensure reciprocity.  Geography should not be a barrier to communication! 

Can I expect a report?

A brief note can be provided upon request following any session.  If you are interested in a comprehensive report that can and should be shared with the family and team, a supplemental writing fee will be assessed at an hourly rate. 

I want more…what should I do?

Let us know what else you would like to see offered! Break-and-take workshops, on-site lectures or in-services, parent trainings, assistance setting up a home or school in the Boston area or far beyond… just ask!



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