When a child requires an Augmentative or Alternative Communication (AAC) device, it is so important to include modeling the device as a supplementary aid in the child’s IEP. Just like with verbal communication, children learn how to communicate with their AAC device by watching and hearing others do the same. This can be done using their device, or a different device with a similar layout. During my time as a teacher, I often found that professionals and family members felt overwhelmed by the child’s AAC device. And, if the adults feel overwhelmed, just imagine how the child feels! The IEP team can (and should) also add training with the AAC for adults as a supplementary aid or service.
Of course, the ultimate goal is to increase a child’s verbal communication. But, some children will likely never be able to be clearly understood by an unfamiliar listener, and that is where proficiency with an AAC device can be extremely helpful. Even if your child is able to verbalize their needs to familiar listeners, using and watching others use AAC during various points in the day will help develop their ability to express themselves in any setting. If your child’s IEP team needs help brainstorming how to include AAC into your child’s routine, give us a call!
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