Tips on Using AAC at Home

Using an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) external system at home can seem like a mountainous challenge for many parents. I know that it can feel overwhelming at first; so, I want to share with you a few simple tips that will make this seemingly impossible challenge easier!

Make sure that the external system (pictures, communication board, speech-generating device, etc.) is accessible to the child.

If the system is never around the child at home, it makes it difficult for the child to learn how to proficiently use it. Think about the AAC system like it is your child’s voice - it should go wherever they go. 

Model the same icons/buttons throughout the week. 

Show your child how to communicate using the system by consistently utilizing the same buttons throughout the week. If you choose to work on two buttons per week, then only use those two buttons, but use them in as many different situations throughout the day as possible. For example, if you choose to work on “more” and “all done” the first week, use them during mealtime, playtime, bath time, etc. Then next week, you can choose two new icons to work on and learn.

Give your child the opportunity to communicate using the system.  

If you model how to use the system for your child, be sure to provide ample time for them to respond or imitate. I would suggest that you model how to use the icon, provide them with the reward/benefit of hitting the symbol/button (ex: "more" cookies, "more" cars, "more" water), and then pause for a response from your child. This pause is one of the most important steps because it provides your child with the opportunity to use the system independently.

-Lexie Powell, M.S., CCC-SLP

For more information on AAC and FAQs, check out our blog post FAQs About Your Augmentative and Alternative (AAC) Device by Amanda Cox.