AAC as an Approach toward Language Development
Introduction: Language acquisition is one of the important steps in the development in early childhood. At the age of approximately 2 years, normally developed children have an active vocabulary consisting of 50 words. However, there are children who, because of complex disease patterns, do not have the motor skills which would enable them to speak or put themselves in a communication situation.
Case Study: At the age of 9 months, the patient suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury in the area of C ¾. The consequences were dependent on artificial ventilation and tetraplegia. After an inpatient rehabilitation, the girl was taken care of in a home environment. At that time, the girl's age was 15 months. Phonation was possible only to a severely limited extent and frequently it was not understandable. A playful exploration of her environment and of objects was not possible, either. By means of an eye-controlled communication device, a corresponding communication software and the possibility to control different electronic devices in her environment, a communication and the activation of playing materials (e.g., the operation of a remote-controlled car or a CD player) could be initiated and developed.
Conclusion: The early use of methods of augmentative and alternative communication and guided playing activities enable also children with complex neurological disease patterns to approach an age-appropriate language development.
Keywords: communication, language development, augmentative and alternative communication, AAC.