Approach to Communication

What is AAC and Total Communication?

At the Eden Academy Trust, we respect and accept all forms of communication. Students are encouraged through opportunities across the day to become involved and to realise their communication potential.  This is called a 'Total Communication' approach.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is the term used to describe various methods of communication that can ‘add-on’ to speech and are used to get around problems with ordinary speech. AAC includes simple systems such as pictures, gestures and pointing, as well as more complex techniques involving powerful computer technology

Communication Matters website 2017


Frequently asked questions

Why use it?

It gives a student a way of expressing themselves when speech alone is difficult. For example: Students may use to request, make choices, label things and join in different activities.

Does it stop speech?

No! Research shows that using a supporting system can sometimes aid speech production as it reduces frustration. It is not used instead of speech and speech/vocalising is always encouraged.

Should I buy my child an iPad?

Please speak to your child’s speech and language therapist about what system your child is using. They can advise on what is being used at school and how to support with communication at home.

How can I get more support?

Please take a look at our Parent Forum, where we have lots of useful information and contacts to support you.


Here are some examples of Total Communication across our schools: