Promoting Language in a Community Setting with an AAC

Guest Authored By Colleen M, RBT

Blue Bird Day - Family and Baby Talking

What is an AAC? 

AAC stands for augmentative and alternative communication.  There are several forms of AAC: manual sign language, PECS, and using a tablet or iPad.  When using any of these forms of an AAC, people are able to share ideas and communicate through them.  There are two types of AAC: unaided and aided systems.  Unaided systems include gestures, facial expressions, and sign language.  Aided systems use some sort of tool or device.  Examples of aided systems are a picture board or a tablet.  

Using Your AAC in the Community 

Once your child has been introduced to using their AAC in their home setting you can begin to use it outside the home in the community.  There are different ways that you can promote the use of language in a community setting.  

For example, if you take a trip to the grocery store with your child and bring your child’s AAC device, there are ways you can work in using the device to your grocery store run.  When you get to the store, you can walk through the aisles and the produce section and have your child label some of the foods that he or she likes.  You can also walk your child through aisles in the store where there are certain foods and drinks you know are highly preferred.  Then once they start showing interest in those foods or drinks, you can have them request those items on their device.  One other fun activity you can do with your child in a grocery store would be to create a shopping list of ingredients for their lunch or dinner that day.  Then, you can walk through the store searching for the items and using the AAC device to label each ingredient.  Once the child has found the ingredient, they can cross it off their list! 

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), ASHA, www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/aac/.