Augmentative & Alternative Communication (AAC)

The Autism Society Inland Empire has been working in this field since 2012.  According to the 2017 Autism and Heath Report, an estimated one-third of people with autism are nonverbal, though many can communicate nonverbally to some degree, sometimes with the help of visual supports and/or assisted-communication devices.

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) refers to communication methods that help or replace speaking or writing for individuals who struggle to production or comprehend spoken or written language.  AAC includes simple systems such as pictures, gestures, and pointing, as well as more complex techniques involving computer technology.  The goal of AAC is to achieve the most effective communication possible for the individual in order to maximize their potential and lead the highest quality of life possible.

Individuals with autism tend to use “Aided AAC” or AAC that uses tools or materials.  This includes Symbol boards, Choice cards, Communication books, Keyboards and alphabet charts, Speech-generating devices or communication devices or AAC apps on mobile devices.

Look for our annual AAC Workshop!

More Information:

“AAC and Autism: Using Communication Devices for Non-Verbal Children” –

ASHA: “Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)”

Resources for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Assistive Technology Exchange Center (ATEC) a program of Good Will of Orange County
1601 East St. Andrew Place, Santa Ana
(714) 361.6200
Performs AAC assessments for the ATEC program of Goodwill of Orange County.  They do assessments for a wide range of different devices from low-tech to high-tech and they work with individuals of all ages.  They contract with schools, regional centers, and Dept. of Rehab, and they accept private insurance as well as Medi-Cal.

Augmentative Communication Therapies
Cindy Cottier, M.A., M.Ed., C.C.C., SLP
960 E. Green St., Suite # 203
Pasadena, CA 91106
(626) 351-5402
Cynthia A. Cottier is a Speech-Language Pathologist who has been working in the field of Augmentative and Alternative, Communication (AAC) since 1980. She developed the AAC program for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) during a seven-year stint and went into private practice in 1992. She has extensive experience working directly with individuals ranging in age from 2 to 75+ years and of all disabilities. In addition, Ms. Cottier has a vast knowledge of a wide variety of state-of-the-art augmentative and assistive systems, techniques and strategies. 

Aut 2 Communicate
Communication & learning tools for individuals with autism featuring letter boards.  The goals of Aut 2 Communicate is to contribute towards empowering autistic and all individuals who have expressive language difficulties with a means to communicate and interact with their friends, loved ones and community; to enable to have input into the decisions that shape their lives; to give them the voice they deserve..

Susan Berkowitz, M.S., M.Ed., C.C.C., SLP
San Diego, CA
(619) 980-0347
Susan Berkowitz is a speech therapist who serves the San Diego and Orange County areas.  She also serves Riverside County, San Bernardino County, and occasionally Imperial County.  She has been in practice for over 30 years, and she provides AAC assessments for no-tech, low-tech, and high-tech solutions for people with communication difficulties.  She conducts environmental evaluations for the implementation of communication skills programs.  She consults to schools, parents, day programs, and residential programs, and she assists with setting intervention programs into place.  She will also provide programming and training of AAC devices for her clients.

Communication A To Z
(909) 437-8145
Provides preventative services with visits homes pro-actively before problems arise.  Promotes communication, behavior modification, skill building and inclusion.  Can provide training on setting up communication and assistive technology, assessment, consultation, and individual program design.

High Desert Speech and Language Center
12241 Industrial Blvd. Suite 201, Victorville
(760) 952-2333
This clinic can assist with Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), AAC assessments and Relationship Development Intervention. The center accepts private health insurance and credit cards.

Lucid Speech and Language Center
Megan McCann, M.A., CCC-SLP
25102 Jefferson Avenue, Suite D, Murrieta (951) 461.1190
11870 Pierce Street, Suite 150, Riverside (951) 808.5850
27192 Newport Rd, Suite 1, Menifee (951) 566.4444
31205 Pauba Road, Suite 103, Temecula (951) 951.693.9600
This clinic has speech therapists who practice in the area of augmentative and alternative communication and who can perform AAC assessments for a wide range of devices.  The clinic accepts most major forms of health insurance and payment by credit card.

Resource for Education, Advocacy, Communication and Housing (REACH) 
Darlene Hanson, MA – CCC
9300 Santa Fe Springs Rd., Santa Fe Springs
Formerly known as Whittier Area Parents Association for the Developmentally Handicapped (WAPADH), now is REACH. Speech and Language, AAC, FC evaluations and therapy, FC and Communication Partners training.  Darlene is a speech and language specialist with an expertise in working with individuals with severe communication impairments. She is the Director of Communication Services with WAPADH, in the Los Angeles area. Darlene has been working in this field for over 20 years. Her work focuses on bringing alternate modes of communication to those who do not use speech to communicate effectively. Currently, she is focusing on training the communication partners to increase the communication. At WAPADH they provide speech and language assessments, therapy, and training, as well as services related to Augmentative Communication. This is available to families as private clients and to school systems through the Non-Public Agency status for schools in California. Trainings and coaching are available locally, throughout California, and out of state.

Sensibilities Therapy Group
6848 Magnolia Ave, Suite 200, Riverside, CA 92506 951.779.1966
9050 Pulsar Court, Suite A, Corona, CA 92883 951.603.3119
73733 Fred Waring Drive, Suite 204, Palm Desert 92260 760.668.4247
Full-service clinics in Riverside, Corona and Plam Desert equipped with the expertise to work with the developmentally disabled. We provide services in the areas of speech and language, occupational therapy including feeding therapy. We are also able to target behavior management concerns within the therapeutic environment and outside consulting. AAC services (including evaluations/device placement) and social groups for a variety of ages.

Speech and Language Development Center
8699 Holder Street, Buena Park
(714) 821-3620
The Speech and Language Development Center has speech therapists on staff who do AAC assessments for children and youth who have communication disabilities.  The center offers a school of its own, but it also contracts with many local schools, families, and regional centers.  The center provides services for children from six months of age up to individuals who are 21 years old.

Wings Speech and Language Services
1500 S Haven Ave Suite 190, Ontario
(909) 390-1313
Speech pathologist can perform AAC assessments and PPO private health insurance, Healthy Families and private pay.

Villa Esperanza Services
2060 E Villa St, Pasadena
(626) 449-2919
Offers a variety of services including functional Communication Training; Intro to Augmentative and Alternative Communication; Visually Supports for Communication; iPads for Autism – Communicative, Educational, and Recreational Benefits of Mobile Technologies.

The Autism Society Inland Empire Autism (ASIE) maintains these Resource Listings as a service to families as a reference tool. Every effort is made to ensure listings are up-to-date. ASIE does not endorse or claim to have personal knowledge of the abilities of those listed. The resources listed are not intended as a recommendation, referral, or endorsement of any resource or as a tool for verifying the credentials, qualifications, or abilities of any organization, product or professional. Users are urged to use independent judgment and request references when considering any resource associated with diagnosis or treatment of autism, or the provision of services related to autism.