There are practices in AAC implementation that lead to better outcomes for every individual with complex communication needs.
There are also 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. Sometimes addressing only the good practices might mean the bad ones don’t get tackled too!
Below we list the essential do's and don'ts with accompanying blog posts or articles to read for more in-depth information.
Use the AAC system to talk yourself
Use a well designed, comprehensive vocabulary (core vocabulary or PODD)
Provide wait time
Ask open-ended questions
Focus on key words when modeling
Respect multimodal communication
Allow exploration and access to the whole vocabulary
Make sure AAC is available all day, every day
Describe what you want to say using core words
Expect the AAC user to communicate without you modelling how
Demand prerequisite skills
Provide an AAC system with only a handful of choices
Do all the talking
Ask questions the AAC user knows you already know the answer to
Think you always need to model grammatically correct sentences
Say "now use your talker"
Create custom pages for specific activities
Limit access to the AAC system
Focus on adding lots of vocabulary
Remember, communication is a human right, fundamental to literacy development and participation in education, and occurs all day, every day. We are all responsible for making sure this happens for everyone.
Get the poster
Download the AAC Do's and Don'ts poster (PDF)
View the presentation given by David Niemeijer and Jane Farrall at AGOSCI 2015 that inspired this blog post series and poster.