Emoji As AAC

While doing a bit of design work on the blog (look, it’s not specifically called “roll of toilet paper”), I remembered how I used to hate emoji. It prompted me to try to figure out what had changed, which with my memory deficiencies is something of a big ask.

Then I realized that it maybe it had something to do with my autism diagnosis in late 2016, as emoji effectively are a form of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), and there’s far less cognitive stress in sending someone a “thumbs-up” and whatnot instead of all the time trying to find the words for a social exchange. That cognitive usefulness might have struck me before my diagnosis just through experience but I feel like it must have solidified afterward. As a general thing, I don’t use AAC and never thought about it at all until just realizing that to a certain extent I do.

That emoji are AAC of course is nothing close to an original thought. It just never occurred to me before, probably because it’s a form of AAC that’s normatively acceptable and so essentially unnoticed.