AAC or Alterntative Augementative Communication devices are a great way to help those express themselves if they are not able to express themselves verbally. Many people think an AAC device is an intricate piece of technology but there are some low-tech options available as well!
What is Low Tech AAC (Alternative Augmentative Communication)
Low Tech AAC can be a variety of options such as Core boards, AAC stand alone symbols or even sign language (pictured below). AAC is a way to help individuals communicate; who do not have an established means to do so. However, AAC can also be a powerful tool for children who already talk but have trouble combining words together, formulating sentences or listening to directions.
How can it help?
Low Tech AAC is great because it is easy to make yourself or to print off yourself. It is cheap and it is powerful! It can help provide additional support and meaning to what you are saying to your child. For example, if you want to encourage your child to clean up you can model “Put” “in” on your core board at home! You can also teach children who are only communicating using single words how you can combine words. The great thing about modeling on a core board is that it slows you down so that you model more slowly. Low tech AAC options are focused on “Core” language. “Core words/language” are words that show up most frequently within our language; they are words like, “Go, Me, More, Want, Look, Like, Stop, Not/no.” These words are great because they can be easily combined to formulate multiple word phrases, (e.g. “No Want”; “Want more”; “Go Look”).
Activities you can use it with core vocabulary
During book readings: You can model words that show up within the books by pointing out the words then modeling them on your core board while reading. A way to make this easy and fun is to focus on one specific core word to model throughout the book (e.g. “Look”).
Use a Core board when playing your favorite game. Position your core board or your core symbols nearby and everytime you model a simple core word (e.g. Up) point to the symbol while you say it.
Place them on everyday items to provide an opportunity for your child to request using them or to remind them to request using their voice. For example you can place a “Open” symbol on your door or a “Go” symbol. You can also place an “eat” and “drink” symbol on your fridge. Or just post the whole core board!
Why use it even if your child is talking?
Using Low tech core vocabulary can be a great way to add extra meaning to what they are saying. It can and provide your child another mode of input to help them understand what you are saying. Research has shown that using core vocabulary with children encourages verbal productions of words. Core vocabulary can be a fun way to provide visual support to your child in their everyday life. It can also help encourage them to expand the words they use.
If you or a loved one is in need of Speech Language Pathology please call us today at 586-323-2957 to get started!