18 May Creating Communication Opportunities with AAC
The ability to communicate is an integral part of our lives. Many people may not appreciate the value communication has in connecting with others and enabling them to conduct their daily affairs. Individuals with severe communication impairments without an AAC system have a difficult time communicating. However, thankfully, an AAC system allows these individuals to share their lives, ideas, thoughts, and feelings with family and friends by utilizing communication and shared understanding.
It is crucial to create as many communication opportunities as possible in order to ensure that individuals utilizing an AAC system have sufficient practice to learn this new language. The same way acquiring language takes significant amount of practice for young children learning to speak, so too with AAC. Practice! Practice! Practice!
It is so important to try and create opportunities for children to communicate using their device. The best opportunities are in natural settings at home or any functional activity that children can participate in.
The next step in trying to create communication opportunities is changing ones mindset.
Oftentimes, parents feel that it is easier and quicker to simply give a child 2 choices or even just provide what they think/know their child needs. However, this approach stifles the child and does not allow children to effectively communicate their wants/needs. Every child deserves the opportunity to make choices, have preferences, as well as have personal opinions about things in life. The only way to make this possible is by allowing children a voice through his AAC device.
So, what are some examples of communication opportunities that can be implemented in the home environment?
There are several opportunities at home where parents and other family members can utilize those moments to initiate a conversation with their child who is an AAC user.
✔ Meal Time (asking your child what he wants to eat or if he needs anything with his meal, does he like what he is eating…)
✔ Bath Time (how does the water feel? Which towel or shampoo he prefers?)
✔ Getting Dressed in the Morning (involving the child in which outfit to choose)
✔ Playing with Siblings (during any board game, toy, or activity with siblings)
✔ Baking/Cooking (discussing which ingredients to use, how much to put in…)
✔ Storybook Reading (discussing details of the story being read)
✔ Playing in the Yard (discussing preferences of an activity to play, swings, ball…)