Welcome to The OpenAAC Initiative
OpenAAC is an initiative to create and encourage open-licensed resources and tools to support AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) users. We believe that AAC users should have flexibility in and control over their communication modalities. It is important for companies to create sustainable business models that can reliably support AAC users, but business practices that interfere with AAC user freedoms such as vendor lock-in are inappropriate.
There is a growing international effort to create open-licensed materials and tools with the goal of communicator autonomy, and we are proud to contribute to this work!
We are parents, therapists, vendors and developers who believe that users should have control and be able to mix and match to create the experience that works best for them. Here are some of our beliefs:
- Open Systems Communicators should have an option for a free, flexible AAC system (Open AAC Systems).
- Open Exports Users should be free to export their vocabulary sets if they need to switch to a different AAC system (the Open Board Format).
- Open Vocabularies Communicators should have access to free, robust, pre-made vocabulary sets that they can import into the system that works best for them (Open Board Format Examples).
- Open Symbols Therapists and education teams should be free create and share classroom materials that use the same symbols available on AAC systems (opensymbols.org).
- Open Lessons Teachers and families should have access to free learning resources and ideas for modeling with and supporting communicator learning (Communication Workshop).
- Open Voices Communicators should have access to a range of free, high-quality voice output options.
- Open Integrations Third party companies, web sites and developers should have tools that allow them to make their solutions available to AAC users in a standardized way (AAC Shim).
The OpenAAC Initiative will be a place to find and share open-licensed tools and applications. We will advocate the adoption of open standards, and work with existing vendors to find business-responsible solutions that still foster communicator freedom.
We are in the process of organizing an advisory board to drive the strategy for this initiative, but in the mean time you can review the existing tools and resources. Remember, all of these initiatives are released with an open license, and are free to use, share and build on top of.
How You Can Help
We are small right now, so join early! You can participate in our the OpenAAC Slack Channel if you have ideas or questions. Just as importantly, reach out to vendors you purchase from and let them know that open standards are important to you, and that you don’t want to keep putting work into systems that won’t ever let you get it back out!