AssistiveWare's David Niemeijer and Jane Farrall teamed up for a presentation at the AGOSCI 2015 Conference on the Do’s and Don’ts of Implementing Real Communication Through AAC. We strongly believe that every single one of us has a right to communicate.
Overall, we recognize that communication:
- occurs all day, every day, in every aspect of our life;
- impacts greatly on our quality of life;
- is fundamental in literacy development and for participation in education;
- and, most importantly, it is a human right (United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1994(PDF)).
We are also aware that there are practices in AAC implementation that lead to better outcomes for every individual with complex communication needs – and, just as importantly, there are practices that lead to poorer outcomes for those same individuals. As we always focus on communication for all, we felt it was important to address both the do’s and don’ts together, since sometimes addressing only the good practices might mean the bad ones don’t get tackled too!
Almost immediately there were questions about the poster. In particular, the item “Don’t create custom pages for specific activities”. This sparked a series of blog posts, expanding on different points of the Do’s and Don’ts of AAC poster, written either by the team at AssistiveWare or Jane Farrall.
Today’s blog post will pull all of these together into one resource for easier reference when used in conjunction with the poster.
The Do's and Don'ts of AAC
- Do use the AAC system to talk yourself
Don’t expect the AAC user to communicate without you modelling how
Read the Do’s and Don’ts of AAC - Use the AAC system
- Do aim high
Don’t demand prerequisite skills
Read AAC: Don’t Demand Prerequisite Skills (external site)
- Do use a well designed, comprehensive vocabulary, e.g. core vocabulary or PODD
Don’t provide an AAC system with only a handful of choices
Read What is “Beginning AAC”? (external site)
- Do provide wait time
Don’t do all the talking
Read the Do's and Don'ts of AAC - Wait Time
- Do ask open-ended questions
Don’t ask questions the AAC user knows you already know the answer to
Read the Do's and Don'ts of AAC - Questions
- Do focus on key words when modeling
Don’t think you always need to model grammatically correct sentences
Read the Do's and Don'ts of AAC - modeling
- Do respect multi-modal communication
Don’t say, “Now use your talker”
Read the Do's and Don'ts of AAC - multi-modal communication
- Do allow exploration and access to the whole vocabulary
Don’t create custom pages for specific activities
Read Aim for language development: Don’t create custom pages for specific activities (external site)
- Do make sure AAC is available all day, every day
Don’t limit access to the AAC system
Read the Do's and Don'ts of AAC - Access to AAC
- Do describe what you want to say using core words
Don’t focus on adding lots of vocabulary
Read the Do's and Don'ts of AAC - Core Words
Get the poster
And remember – communication happens all day, every day and we are all responsible for making sure this happens for everyone.