This session will provide an introduction to Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems. We will bust common AAC myths such as the candidacy model and the expert model. We will discuss who can benefit from AAC and best practices. We will provide definitions for common terms you will hear throughout the conference such as Aided Language Input, and robust AAC. This session will also discuss language variety, bidialectalism, and bilingualism. Encouraging bilingualism and use of language varieties other than General American English, such as African American English and Appalachian English, in AAC services is not only best practice but also a matter of social equity. When practitioners deliver services through a mainstream lens that centers western ideologies, we deny opportunities to foster bilingualism and bidialectalism in individuals with complex communication needs. 'An individual's life experiences are impacted greatly by his or her own cultural and linguistic background' (Beukelman and Light, 2020, p. 25). Therefore, AAC assessment and interventions must be appropriately planned for and provided based on the individual’s cultural and linguistic background. Additionally, 'AAC teams must demonstrate cultural competence if they are to provide effective AAC services to individuals and families from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds' (Harris, 2015 as cited by Beukelman & Light, 2020, p. 26). We will discuss the different forms of AAC and how and why centering and understanding an individual's cultural heritage and language experiences inform our practices. We will identify and discuss barriers to accessing services based on our professional, clinical experiences and the AAC research literature. Lastly, this session will outline and discuss actionable steps that practitioners can immediately utilize to mitigate some of these barriers; discuss solutions such as utilizing a family-centered approach; and how to implement a culturally responsive approach to assessments, device selection, service delivery, and implementation of tools.