It is important to implement augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices throughout the child’s day.
There are five main steps to implementing AAC devices in a child’s routine.
- Understand the basics. As the parent/guardian take time with the AAC device to get familiar with it. Learn the basics (how to turn it on/off, turning the volume up/down, how to search for specific words, learning where frequently used words are, etc.) I know this can sound daunting, but don’t worry! If you can’t figure something out or need some help, just let your child’s SLP know. We would be happy to teach you!
- Access: The child should have access to their Augmentative device at all times. Whether they have a case with a handle to carry it around at all times or it’s simply sitting on a table within their reach.
- Modeling. Constantly show your child how to properly utilize their AAC device. The child is not the only person who can use it. While you’re talking to them, select keywords in your sentence and select them on the AAC device. For example, if you’re telling your child “Let’s go outside”. You can select the icons ‘go’ and ‘outside’ on the AAC device.
- Core Vocabulary. When modeling and teaching your child to utilize their AAC communication device, focus on the core vocabulary instead of situation specific vocabulary. Some examples of core vocabulary are: stop, go, up, down, more, all done, mine, on, off, etc.
- Communication opportunities. Consistently provide communication opportunities for your child throughout the day. This can include:
- During snack time only give them 2 or 3 bites of their favorite snack. Have them select ‘more’ to receive more of the snack.
- While playing with a ball, have them select ‘my turn’ to request the ball
- While listening to music, randomly turn it off and on. Have them select ‘on’ and ‘off’ appropriately.
- While at the playground on the slide, before they slide down have them select ‘go’.