Simple AAC – 2. Interesting
When we are teaching AAC, we need to keep things fun and INTERESTING!
We have all been in a situation where someone is talking to us, but we aren’t really interested in what they have to say. Even when they were telling us something that they thought was important for us to know.
Perhaps when you were at school, your geography teacher was explaining what would be in the exam but you were thinking about going to your friend’s house after school? Or maybe a friend was giving you step-by-step directions for how to get to their new house, but you weren’t really listening because you knew you’d just use sat nav to get there.
Or maybe you have just read the above, and thought what is the point in me reading that? Well, the point is, we pay more attention when something is interesting! Even if the other person thinks what they are telling us is important, if it isn’t interesting, it’s easy to just switch off.
Ideas to get you started
As an SLT, when I’m showing an AAC learner a new page of vocabulary, or want to teach some new words from a page they’re already familiar with, I always try to make it interesting!
Here are a few ideas from me, and some of my favourite ideas from around the internet:
Start with their interests
Relate your teaching to the AAC learner’s favourite things. If they love cars, but I want to teach describing words, then I might get out lots of toy cars and describe them as we play.
This car is fast, but this one is slow! Big, little, same, different, new, old. You could even make a pretend car wash and use the words clean and dirty.
Or you could look at YouTube videos of cars and describe those. Leave time for the AAC user to select any of the describing words and respond to the one they choose by finding a car that matches that describing word.
Keeping things interesting: Jessica, her mum Vicky, and SLT, get ready to wash dolly in the bath!
Explore and respond
Navigate to a particular page of vocabulary you want to introduce, and then just let the AAC user explore by selecting words. Then respond to show what those words mean.
My favourite page to explore has to be a page of actions. Try this with a teddy or doll, and respond to whatever actions the child chooses. Dance! Run! Sleep! Wave!
This simple cause and effect activity can be very motivating, and allows for no-fail exploration, whilst the AAC learner gets to see the meaning of the words they select.
Core vocabulary activity tubs
Try making some core vocabulary activity tubs, as described by Little Miss Kim. There are some lovely activity ideas based around modelling core vocabulary words like ‘go’ and ‘stop’.
Be the fun
I love the way that SLT Lindsey Paden Cargill, in her post for Praactical AAC, says we should “be the fun” and how that doesn’t necessarily need to mean preparing lots of therapy materials.
She describes a lovely therapy session where she let the AAC learner request different coloured lipsticks and hair sprays to put on her hair and face!
Lots of toys, and lots of opportunities for language using the Early AAC Activity grids!
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