Douglas College wordmark
Facebook logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Snapchat logo YouTube logo Wordpress logo
back to search

Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Course Code: CCSD 1260
Faculty: Child, Family & Community Studies
Credits: 3.0
Semester: Flexible delivery ranging over 2 to 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: Winter
course overview

This course provides students with opportunities to examine and reflect on their roles in supporting and promoting communication with and by people who are non-verbal. Students will explore specific methods and strategies of augmentative communication and principles underlying their use with individuals in community settings.

Course Content

The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:

  • Communication is a means for transmitting and receiving information. It is essential to the growth and participation of all individuals and enables them to develop control and autonomy in their daily lives.
  • Individuals communicate using a variety of methods and modes. All behaviour is communication.
  • Augmentative and alternative communication includes all communication that supplements or augments speech. Everyone uses these modes, which can be symbolic, non-symbolic or multifaceted.
  • A practitioner’s awareness of their personal communication style and those of others increases their effectiveness in facilitating, supporting and promoting communication.
  • Effective practitioners plan strategies to maximize the communication potential of each situation, and they adapt and creatively use unforeseen experiences and spontaneous opportunities.
  • Individuals are unique in how they send and receive information. Practitioners can enhance communication exchanges by identifying, recognizing, respecting and responding to the dynamic communication methods used by the people they support.
  • Observing and listening are fundamental aspects of effective communication and are critical to assessing and enhancing communication with and by individuals who rely on augmentative and alternative methods for their interactions.
  • Familiarity with a wide range of augmentative communication methods and devices, including simple and more complex technologies such as alphabet, Bliss or other symbol boards, picture and object systems, dedicated electronic speech devices, scanners or personal computers, increases practitioners’ ability to enhance communication with and by individuals who rely on augmentative and alternative communication

Methods of Instruction

  • Lecture
  • Practice
  • Video
  • Guest Speaker
  • Workshop

Means of Assessment

This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations.

  • Community Experiment and Analysis
  • Inventory
  • Product Development
  • Individual Presentation

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Experience and reflect on process and content as an AAC user and as a communication partner.
    • Demonstrates awareness of full range of own and others’ communication partner
    • Practices effective active listening skills including observation and clarification strategies
    • Assesses communication situations for factors including context, opportunity and history
  2. Apply theories of communications when supporting AAC users to develop control and autonomy in their lives.
    • Describes roles of communication for individuals’ growth and participation in daily life
    • Considers the unique nature of individuals’ situation and abilities
    • Explores multifaceted use of AAC methods, including behaviour as communication
  3. Use decision-making process to develop, enhance and facilitate AAC communication opportunities, methods and strategies.
    • Plans, gathers information, develops, implements, and revises methods and tools to meet individuals’ AAC needs
    • Identifies, responds to and respects dynamic nature of individuals’ present and emerging communication methods
    • Matches individuals’ needs and abilities to AAC formats and methods
    • Identifies strategies to maximize communication potential of each situation using unforeseen experiences and spontaneous opportunities for flexible responses
    • Considers using simple and complex technologies and strategies as possible parallel elements of AAC support

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.