Are You a Good AAC Communication Partner?

Are you a good communication partner? There are many different methodologies and evidence-based practices available. I like to mix and match based on individual communication needs, environment and support system.

When working with individuals with complex communication needs, it is important to:

💬Arrange the environment or sabotage to contrive situations for communicating. Create interest!

💬Integrate AAC into your verbal language: commenting, question-asking. Create scenarios for a communication partner to ask “wh” questions.

💬Make your communicative input models for language learning. Respond to communication with more communication. If your communication partner gives you a word, give that work back by scaffolding and expanding. In this way you acknowledge, reinforce and, in some cases, shape the utterance with more language. As in behaviorally rooted Pivotal Response Teaching (PRT), the reinforcement is contextually relevant; reinforcing language with acknowledged language rather than with “Good pointing,” “Good using your device” or “Good talking.”

💬Give the word back with an additional word to model language expansion. Give the word back with an additional word to model language expansion. For example, if your partner says: “Turn on,” you respond with “Turn on the music.”

💬Create robust, frequent language opportunities; PRT protocols aim for at least one opportunity per minute.

💬Prepare to follow your communication partner’s lead, whether it is physically moving from one activity or play item to another or simply changing a topic.

The best measure of effectiveness of an intervention is whether it is effective for a particular individual. It is of utmost importance to collect and analyze data when using interventions with a student. ”If an intervention results in positive change for a particular student and you, as an educational professional, have data to support that, then the intervention is evidence-based for that student.” (Hale, 2014)

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