AAC Starter Kit: Everything You Need to Trial AAC with a Child | Core Word

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63 pages
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This no-prep starter kit includes everything you need to trial augmentative/alternative communication (AAC) with a child. Includes a simple picture board plus core word vocabulary lesson plans for each word on the board. Also includes sample goals, instructions for how to run your trials, and letters/homework to caregivers and educators. And all of that with no prep time! Nothing to cut, glue, or laminate (unless you want to).

What's Included:

  • Sample Goals
  • Data Collection Sheets
  • Pre-Intervention Observation Form
  • 12-Picture AAC Board with Individual Boards for Each Word
  • Interactive Story Book for Introducing the AAC Board
  • Lesson Plans for Teaching Each Word
  • Homework Sheets for Parents/Educators to Carry-Over Use of AAC with Each Word/Lesson
  • Lesson Plan for Using AAC in Natural Environment
  • Post-Intervention Observation Form
  • Information on How to Use Your Data to Find More Long-Term AAC Solutions

This 63-page packet includes everything you need to trial AAC with a child.  This kit is intended to allow you to try AAC with a child to determine what type of AAC is best for this child. This kit introduces a simple 12-picture board with vocabulary chosen using the core word approach. This means the child is using one set of common words that can be used in a variety of contexts and environments. During the trial period, you will model for the child how to point to those pictures to communicate various wants and needs. Then, you’ll provide communication temptations to encourage the child to use the board to communicate. If needed, you’ll add additional prompts to help the child learn how to use the board.

How Do the AAC Trials Work?

You’ll start off by introducing the full 12-picture board to the child. After introducing the board using a fun, interactive story, you’ll help the child begin to use it in the natural environment. Then, we show you how to conduct specific activities to teach each of the 12 vocabulary words on the board. At the end, you’ll go back into the natural environment to see how the child is doing with using the board. At the end of all of it, you’ll have some great data to help guide your decision on what type of AAC you will try next.

Age Range:

This kit is great for any child who is not yet speaking or is not yet speaking many words and may require some augmentative-alternative communication.

Check Out What’s Included:

  1. Introduction
  2. When Should AAC Be Considered? 
  3. Pre-Requisites for Using AAC
  4. Handouts for Parents/Educators about AAC (And How it Won’t Inhibit Speech)
  5. Sample Goals
  6. Data Collection
  7. Phase 1: Introducing the Whole Board
  8. Phase 2: Core Word Teaching Activities
    1. Hi
    2. My Turn
    3. Help
    4. Eat
    5. Drink
    6. Up
    7. Down
    8. Go
    9. Stop
    10. No
    11. More
    12. All Done

  1. Phase 3: Generalizing to the Whole Board to More Settings
  2. Phase 4: The Next Steps for AAC
  3. References & Research Base

When Should AAC Be Considered for a Child?

We should consider trying AAC with a child when his/her speech output is not adequate to communicate everything that the child wants/needs to communicate. This is not an easy decision to make but you can use the following considerations when discussing this option with parents and educators:

Things to consider: 

  • Child’s frustration levels: Is the child frustrated when he/she can’t communicate with others? 
  • Adult frustration levels: Are the adults frustrated that they don’t know what he/she wants? 
  • Access to school curriculum: 
    • Participation in classroom activities: Does the child’s lack of speech impact his ability to participate in regular classroom activities with peers? 
    • Ability to demonstrate knowledge to teachers: Does the child’s lack of speech impact his teachers’ ability to assess what he/she knows or has learned? 
  • Access to home and community environment: 
    • Ability to interact appropriately with family and peers: Does the child’s lack of speech impact his interactions with friends, siblings, parents, grandparents, etc.? 
    • Independence in developmentally-appropriate daily activities: Does the child’s lack of speech impact his ability to independently complete daily living activities that other children his/her age are able to do?

What Pre-Requisite Skills Does a Child Need to Use AAC?

A lot of people wonder if there are specific pre-requisite skills that must be present before we can try AAC. My answer to that is no. We don’t require children to have any pre-requisites before we start talking to them! So it’s never too early to expose them to AAC either.

These are common questions that people have about pre-requisite skills for AAC: 

Must the Child Understand Cause and Effect? Cause and effect is the basis for communication. If a child doesn’t understand that an action they take causes something to happen, they will not try to communicate to cause something to happen either. Some people believe that this means a child cannot use AAC if they don’t understand cause/effect.

In fact, AAC can be used to teach cause and effect as well as communication at the same time. When a child touches a picture or pushes a button and immediately gets what they want, they are learning cause and effect. 

Must the Child Understand the a Picture Represents an Object? One common problem for non-verbal children is that they don’t understand that the picture of the cheerio in front of him represents that cheerio in your hand that he wants.

Fortunately, AAC devices can be used to teach your child that as well! When a child touches a picture and then receives an item, he will begin to associate that picture with that item. 

Does the Child Need Good Motor Skills to Use AAC? Technology is an amazing thing and AAC companies have come up with tons of different ways for AAC users to access their devices, even if they do not have great motor skills. 

Does the Child Need to Understand Language to Use AAC? Think of it like this: we talk to children and use speech around them well before they are able to understand it or use it themselves. That’s how they learn! Similarly, we don’t have to wait until the child understands language before we start exposing him to an AAC device or system. 

Must the Child Already be Interested in Communicating to Use AAC? Once you teach the child that pushing a button will get her something she wants, you may be surprised how much her interest in communication grows. For many children, spoken words are much too difficult so verbal communication is not even an option. If that is the only means of communication they have been exposed to, they will not be very interested in communicating since it is so difficult for them.

For more information about this, visit our blog post: https://www.speechandlanguagekids.com/what-are-theprerequisites-for-using-an-aac-device-augmentativealternative-communication/

Will Using AAC Prevent this Child from Speaking?

Parents, educators, and therapists often worry that using AAC my prevent a child from learning to speak. For that reason, a lot of research has been done on this topic. To date, the research has shown that the use of AAC does not affect motivation to use natural speech and can, in fact, help natural speech develop more quickly!

How does this work? Well, one theory is that since we are reducing the child’s frustration, they are calmer and better able to try speaking. Also, there is less pressure when the child knows he/she has a backup method of communication in case speaking doesn’t get the message across.

Think of it like a baby learning to walk. The child will crawl for a while because it is easier but once that baby learns to walk, he’ll start walking (or running) everywhere and abandon crawling. Speaking a message is always going to be easier than finding the button on a device so once the child’s speech skills catch up, he’s likely to prefer speaking to AAC.

For more information, and to see the research articles that support this, visit this link: https://www.assistiveware.com/learn-aac/roadblock-aac-will-stop-a-person-from-learning-to-speak

❤ Images for this eBook were lovingly provided by Tobii Dynavox and Boardmaker.  We use Boardmaker’s PCS symbol library for our products because we love the clean, easy-to-understand look of the pictures.  Plus, this provides an amazing consistency across our products.  You can use PCS symbols in your homemade therapy materials as well!  Visit www.goboardmaker.com to learn more! ❤

Total Pages
63 pages
Answer Key
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