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Language Facilitation Strategies for AAC

Stephanie Meehan, MA, CCC-SLP

July 20, 2015

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Question

What are the most helpful language facilitation strategies to use with AAC?

Answer

The first one is aided input.  This is known by a few other names, such as language-aided stimulation.  In its most basic sense, it means that when I am speaking with my voice, my hands are on the device.  When I say the word “help” with my mouth, my finger goes over and presses the word “help” on the device at the same time.  I am giving them two different inputs.  Using the device yourself and having other people use it to model for the client is the best way to teach them how to use it. 

The second one is wait time.  Wait time is very important.  Sometimes you have to wait up to one minute.  If you are not used to waiting or being quiet - as speech language pathologists, this is not usually our strong suit - it can take some time to feel comfortable doing that.  you should be quiet and wait expectantly.  Do not turn around and do something, but look at them and wait for it.  It can take a long time for someone to hear what you have said, think about what their response should or could be, look at the device (especially if they are a new user), and answer.

Expansion is a very straightforward language teaching facilitation strategy.  If they use their device to say a one-word utterance, then model a two-word utterance with your voice and your aided input.

Visual support is the next strategy.  This is the idea of giving cues and support to find the word as independently as possible. For example, if you are teaching parts of speech or categories, teach the color code.  You may have the client look for an orange noun, or verbs in green, and pronouns in yellow.  

The last strategy is modeling. Modeling can be used not only for input, but modeling parts of speech, communicative functions, different MLUs, using variety of words, and so on.  That means being familiar with the device yourself and the application you have chosen which can take time.

Stephanie Meehan is currently a doctoral candidate and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas. Her primary research interests include augmentative and alternative communication and school based services.  She facilitates the PACCE (Promoting Access to Communication, Community and Education) team in the Schiefelbusch Speech Language Hearing Clinic.


stephanie meehan

Stephanie Meehan, MA, CCC-SLP

Clinical Assistant Professor

Stephanie Meehan is currently a doctoral candidate and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas. Her primary research interests include augmentative and alternative communication and school based services. Presently, Stephanie is completing her dissertation. She has completed course work in quantitative and qualitative statistical methods, special education law, disability policy, grant writing, and atypical development. Stephanie facilitates the PACCE (Promoting Access to Communication, Community and Education) team in the Schiefelbusch Speech Language Hearing Clinic.


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