Key Definitions

Updated by Global Symbols with UNICEF ECARO

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

“AAC is a set of tools and strategies that an individual uses to solve everyday communicative challenges. Communication can take many forms, such as: speech, a shared glance, text, gestures, facial expressions, touch, sign language, symbols, pictures, speech-generating devices, etc. Everyone uses multiple forms of communication, based upon the context and our communication partner. Effective communication occurs when the intent and meaning of one individual is understood by another person. The form is less important than the successful understanding of the message.” (The International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC))

Complex Communication Needs (CCN)

“A broad term that describes people with severe speech, language and communication impairments. Includes those who are able to speak but have difficulty with comprehension or expressing their wants and needs, and those who are not able to speak but can express themselves through gestures and behaviours. It also includes those who have sensory and physical support needs which affects their ability to engage in communication, and those who require extra time to process what is said and to respond. CCN can include, but is not limited to, those who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, and learning disabilities to name a few. (Communication Rights Australia)