AAC devices, or augmentative and alternative communication devices, are tablets or laptops of sorts that help someone with a speech impediment communicate successfully. Using AAC devices in school is becoming easier and more accessible with all the technology we have access to these days.
To make using these engaging, functional and rewarding, using toys and sensory/therapeutic materials is a great way to teach children how to use their devices.
Strategies for learning to use AAC devices
It is best to find and use materials or subjects that students prefer. Once you learn what they prefer or don’t also prefer, then you can incorporate those items. Be open to trying different things, don’t limit yourself to the specific items you have purchased.
Modeling, modeling, modeling is also important. Use the device with your student in their daily routine and show them how you would expect it to be used to make learning truly meaningful for them.
Terms commonly used on AAC devices
When teaching your student to use devices for simple expressions like go, get, or give, it’s important to know your students’ interests and preferences.
- Place some preferred items around the room
- Models using their device to ask them to go, get or give you an item
- Use positive reinforcement after successfully completing a skill
If you are teaching your child to communicate terms like open or close, put some of the preferred items in a box or large container for the student to open and close to retrieve them after being asked to open or when he asks you to open. .
Does your student have a preferred snack or meal? A good way to incorporate this item is to reward them for using their equipment correctly.
Other toys/items to use
Teaching your students to communicate their wants and needs is the most important skill they will learn using their AAC devices. Some things to keep handy while learning are:
- Stretching toys
- Favorite songs
- Kinetic sand
- Sensory bins
- Hand massager
- Remote control car/train
- Plush animals
- Sorting activities
What things do you use to teach students how to use devices and make their learning more engaging? Let us know in the comments below!