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Communication book do’s and don’ts

When using an alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) system, there are some things to think about.

  • Model, model, model
  • Model expected communication behaviour before expecting to see those behaviours from them
  • Assume competence
  • Follow prompt hierarchy
  • Teach language functions including directing
  • Wait 10 to 20 seconds with an expectant look before re-prompting!
  • Count in your head 1-2-3
  • Provide core words including verbs and describing words in addition to nouns
  • Colour code parts of speech
  • Make AAC available at all times
  • Keep icon placement constant and keep repeated icons in the same location on each page or screen
  • Allow the user time to explore and learn the system
  • Provide Aided Language Input
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Do all the talking
  • Over-prompt
  • Teach requesting only
  • Re-prompt too quickly
  • Provide only nouns
  • Focus on vocabulary that won’t be functional or used tomorrow
  • Remove the device
  • Move symbols
  • Stop “babbling” (exploring, button pressing)
  • Keep AAC system in the users desk or backpack
  • Expect sentences right away

For more information please contact the Speech and Language Therapy Service at Flockton House on 0114 226 2333.

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: SL158

Resource Type: Article

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