What is a Speech-Generating Device or “SGD”?

AAC Device with arrows and picture cards

A Speech-Generating Device (“SGD”) is one form of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (“AAC”). It is a piece of durable medical equipment (“DME”) that helps patients who cannot rely on oral communication to express themselves. 

How Does a Speech-Generating Device Work?

An SGD can be activated with eye gazes, head tilts, switches, and/or hand and arm gestures. It affords a flexible means of providing communication autonomy since it can be tailored to a variety of needs. Where appropriate, it can also help patients to learn new sounds and words to increase their vocabulary.

Does a Speech-Generating Device Replace a Tablet?

While there are similarities with other devices like tablets with communication applications, SGDs differ in that they are made specifically for creating speech and can be customized to a patient’s specific needs. An SGD may also function in addition to or as a replacement for other AAC devices and strategies. 

How Can I Get a Speech-Generating Device for My Child?

A multi-disciplinary team approach is the best way to evaluate appropriate AAC devices, including speech-generating devices, for patients who desire communication autonomy they are not able to obtain via oral speech. A referral to a speech-language pathologist is usually the first step. 

At AAC Speech Clinic our mission is to improve the quality of life of medically complex children and their caregivers by conveniently providing quality, centralized developmental care. If your family has a need for services, we welcome you to visit for a confidential assessment. Contact us today to request an appointment. 

Image is property of and used with permission from Adaptivation, Inc.

While we hope these resources will start conversations between caregivers and medical professionals, we make no guarantees or endorsements and the information in these articles should not substitute for medical care or professional education.