Many different kinds of people use Augmentative and Alternative communication to speak and connect with the ones they love. Severe speech impediments do not discriminate and can be caused by a number of different reasons. Most of the people who use AAC devices were born with a cognitive disability. Most commonly, these impairments include but are not limited to: apraxia speech disorders, autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, and chromosomal disorders. Other users include people who developed a disease or had a traumatic event. Those with ALS often use AAC devices in the later stages of the disease. Patients who have had a stroke often lose the ability to speak and therefore must use these devices until they regain that ability through speech therapy. Those with traumatic brain or spinal injuries also use AAC devices, as both of these body parts are essential to our ability to speak.
Students in classrooms using AAC would most likely be students who were born with a condition that limits their ability to speak. Most will likely be in a classroom dedicated to students who have disabilities, so it is incredibly important that a special education teacher knows how to use many different types of AAC devices. Additionally, each student may have a different ability to use the device. Many disorders that cause a speech impediment also cause physical impairments often leaving students in a wheelchair with limited ability to move. Therefore, the teacher must be able to help different students use their devices if they have trouble. AAC devices are incredibly important and help so many students and adults alike communicate with those they love.