AAC - Strategies & Tips - Part III
Part III: AAC Strategies and Tips
● Concrete items are the easiest for our kids to learn. A quick way to figure out if something fits into this category is asking yourself if you can take a picture of it. If the answer is yes, then it’s a good starter item.
● Stick to short periods of time to use the device. I thought my daughter had to be using the device all day everyday and it made me feel overwhelmed, and we ended up not using it at all. Start with 5 minutes a day - that’s it. When you’re ready, move to 5 minutes twice a day; maybe once in the afternoon and then once after dinner.
● A special occasion can be highly motivating. One of the first times I remember AAC working for us was on Halloween. We made a button on Della’s device that said “Trick or Treat.” At every door I would put the device in front of her, she would push the button, and they would give her candy. Della was THRILLED (even though she couldn’t actually eat the candy). Visiting Santa and letting your child tell him what they want is another good motivator.
● Choose things that are meaningful to you and your child. I know an SLP who put a button for glitter on a child’s device. I know she was well meaning but as a mom, glitter is the last thing I want my child around. If your SLP is teaching your child to use words on the device that are not meaningful to you, then you should speak up. The SLP doesn’t know what to include that is meaningful to your family and I’m sure he or she would love some input from you.
● Confession: I got so overwhelmed with the device that I let it sit on the shelf gathering dust and it stared back at me, judging my terrible mom skills. I lied to my SLP and told her we were using the device at home because I felt so guilty. I should have asked for help. I should have asked to watch the SLP work with my daughter, so I had some point of reference. I should have been honest and admitted that I didn’t know what I was doing. Don’t be like me! My daughter ultimately was the one who paid the price for my pride.