Information for the Public

What is AAC?

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is a term used to describe systems and strategies designed to help people communicate, who have difficulty with speaking, or no speech at all.

AAC takes various forms:

•Low-tech solutions involve mainly paper-based tools, such as an alphabet-chart or a symbols chart. 

•Light/mid tech solutions are generally battery operated, such as a voice amplifier for people with quiet speech, or a simple device that you can record a few messages on and then press it to ‘speak out’.

•High-tech solutions involve using an electronic device to assist speech. 

Examples of communication devices (high tech solutions):

•Mainstream devices such as iPads or Android or Windows tablets, used with a variety of specially designed apps to aid communication.

•Devices designed to enable communication as their main function.  

Because everyone’s needs are different and may change over time, there are a number of options for people who want to use a communication device.  Please click here for more information.

Companies specialising in AAC products:

Below is a link to a selection of the companies who specialise in providing a wide range of AAC products. There is also link to a list of AAC apps. Click on these to see the types of AAC available.   

Please note: These providers are listed for information purposes only - no endorsement is expressed or implied. We can take no responsibility for the content of external websites.

Some AAC Suppliers:


Communication apps:


You may want to watch "How to speak when you don't have a voice", a video made by Jemima Hughes, a film-making AAC user, to raise awareness of AAC.

What support is available for me or someone I know?

AAC services in England are run using a hub-and-spoke model. KM CAT (the hub service for Kent and Medway) conducts assessments for those with complex needs, and supports local therapists (i.e. the spoke services) in helping everyone else.

If you think you may benefit from AAC, then discuss this with your local therapist, e.g. speech and language therapist. If you are not already known to a local therapist, your GP can refer you to one.

Your therapist may then refer you to KM CAT, if they believe that your needs meet our criteria.

Please contact us if you need further information.

What does a referral to KM CAT involve?

Once your referral has been accepted, we will contact you and your referrer/local therapist to arrange an appointment. The assessment is a process that may take more than one session.

We will give you the opportunity to try using a communication aid.

You will be involved in any decision making around what communication aid best meets your needs. Please note that this may not always be a high-tech solution, as some clients find a paper-based communication aid more effective.

Once a suitable communication aid has been identified, this will be provided to you on a long-term loan basis.

Training will be provided to you and those supporting you - this will involve you learning new skills.

Voice Banking and Message Banking

Voice and Message Banking is the process of recording and storing an individual's voice, so that it can then be used on a communication aid to help personalise communication.

Click Here to See more information.