The Augmentative Communication Program at Boston Children's Hospital is internationally acclaimed for its work with children and adults who are non-speaking or whose speech is severely impaired. The program provides comprehensive, state-of-the-art evaluation and treatment for children and adults with congenital or acquired disorders affecting expressive communication, comprehension and computer access. This includes children with autism.
Boston Children's program is staffed by a team of specialists with expertise in various areas of augmentative communication. The interdisciplinary team includes speech language pathologists, occupational therapists, and computer specialists. Our program prizes technological advancement. We collaborate with linguists, software programmers, MIT engineers and ergonomic specialists to create new products and innovative communication tools for the 21st century.
We have the potential to help someone express their thoughts, desires, emotions--and give them the chance to reveal their personalities,
John Costello, MA, CCC-SLP, director of the Augmentative Communication Program (ACP) at Children's.
Did you know? Computer pioneers
In 1981, our team developed Target, the first-ever general purpose computer software program that uses scanning for people with physical disabilities.
The Augmentative Communication Program focuses on identifying communication options for persons with communication impairment and determines the most appropriate high-tech, low-tech and/or no-tech solutions. The Augmentative Communication Program also develops and assists in the creation of new applied technologies.
An interdisciplinary team provides the following services:
- Evaluation: Speech, language, positioning and gross/fine motor skills are assessed.
- Determination of Need: Feature match a person's strengths and needs to available or potentially available augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) solutions
Who We Serve
Some of the persons seen at our center present with the following conditions:
- autism spectrum disorders
- cerebral palsy
- developmental delays
- metabolic and genetic conditions
- neuromuscular conditions
- traumatic brain injury
- spinal cord injuries
- acquired language disorders
- apraxia of speech
- mitochondrial diseases
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease)
How Our Program Works
ACP staff includes speech language pathologists and occupational therapists with expertise in the area of augmentative communication. Based upon intake information, a child or adult is scheduled with the appropriate clinician(s). The following areas of functioning are typically considered within an evaluation:
- other means of communication
- vision and visual processing
- physical movement abilities
- seating and positioning
Following an evaluation, clinician(s) recommend appropriate communication approaches and systems, which are customized to meet individual needs. Recommendations typically include low-tech solutions, which may be combined with a speech generating device, computer software, and/or an alternative keyboard or mouse. ACP clinicians welcome input from and collaboration with care providers, early intervention and school personnel, local professionals, and private therapists.