ARTICLE: What Does NAC Stand For?

NAC stands for Nurturing Affective Care.

The acronym NAC originally stood for ‘Non-verbal Affective Care’. In 2023, following consultation we changed our name to Nurturing Affective Care. This seemed to better represent what we do and we were concerned that there may be misinterpretation that we were using the term ‘non-verbal’ to refer to the people we support. The use of ‘non-verbal’ was actually being used to refer to the approaches and strategies that we promote not relying on verbal language, as explained below. However, to avoid any confusion we thought it best to remove the term from our name.

NAC was chosen after much deliberation because we wanted something that was catchy and also descriptive of what we do. The words Non-verbal Affective Care create the acronym NAC and provide a handy short way of referring to our organisation which we hope will be memorable and enable people to easily refer to and talk to others about our work.

We chose the term ‘non-verbal’ because the activities and strategies we provide guidance on do not rely on verbal language or the use of words. NAC promotes the use of non-verbal communication as a way of conveying information, meaning and creating connection. People can access and benefit from the approaches that we promote with no requirement for any level of cognitive or language skill. For example, whereas usually mindfulness involves following spoken or written instructions or explanations, our guidance shows how mindfulness can be facilitated through touch and interactions. Furthermore, our wellbeing approaches do not involve engagement in talking therapies and so are suitable for people who are not using formal speech and language.

The use of the term ‘non-verbal’ was not intended as a label for the people the guidance is designed for. NAC’s guidance is suitable for anyone who does not use spoken or written verbal communication, regardless of the reasons or causes for any apparent cognitive or intellectual disability.

The word ‘affective’ means connected with the emotions but includes all feelings, moods, states and attitudes and so is broader and more all-encompassing than emotions.  At NAC we are interested in how people feel and although the term ’emotional wellbeing’ is widely used, it is actually the entirety of people’s feelings that are of concern to us, including feelings such as pain, hunger, tiredness, excitement to name just a few.

Including the word ‘care’ in our organisation’s name was important because we believe that caring is at the heart of enabling people with high dependency to live a meaningful and good life.