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 modelling 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.