How can parents help their children communicate with their AAC devices.
One of the deficits of autism is difficulty in communication.40% of kids with autism are nonverbal even though most have average to above-average intelligence. The cause for this is unknown.
Our son started using AAC devices to communicate in the year 2013. He started communicating with Prologue 2 go. All adults and children who are unable to communicate verbally need an alternate way to communicate.
So what is AAC? AAC stands for Alternative and Augmentative communication.
Today I will share with you some tips and strategies for using AAC.
Never take away your child's device as it is their voice. They need to have access to it at all times.
Take the device everywhere with your child. Teach them to be responsible for it as it is a good life skill.
Model, Model and then model same more to your child so they can see you using their device to speak to them. It is their language we need to speak to them in their language. Use it in daily routines, during meal times, teach them commenting, greeting, protesting, answering yes and no questions which will teach them to self-advocate for themselves.
Be consistent in using it. Have a low-tech backup of their device available at all times. This can be done by taking screenshots of your child’s important pages on their device and make them into a book. Have it all the time in case the device has technical issues or is not charged so they always have access to their communication.
As a parent learn every about your child's device so you can make the necessary changes. Make sure you update your device regularly.
Make sure your child's teacher and school team are on board so there is consistency in using AAC both at home and at school as our children learn through consistency.
Give wait time to your child as they need extra processing time. Don’t jump in right away to help them. This will help them in problem-solving.
Appreciate all their communication attempts. you are your child’s communication partner.
Like little toddlers when they are learning to talk they babble and as parents, we reinforce their attempts so if your child is pressing random buttons do not take their device away as they are exploring their device. Always try to respond to them in a meaningful way. I personally do it with my son by replying to his communication attempts.
Make sure the device is charged every day. Teach your child all communication functions not just requesting.
Use guided access on their device so the child only uses the iPad to communicate not to watch games or watch videos.
There are no prerequisites for AAC. Show them how to use the device touch the words when you say it. Do not model every word.
Teach your child it's okay to make a mistake and how to correct it.
I hope you find these tips helpful to help your child with their AAC. Comment below with any more tips you have so we all can learn together.