Aided Language Input
  • If your child is new to an AAC device, allow him to push various buttons and explore the device. 
  • While modeling, ensure that you keep the device at your child's eye level, so that he sees what you are doing with it.  
  • Match your child's gestures to icons on the AAC device. If he's in pain, point to the pain icon and talk about it.  
  • If your child points at something, acknowledge it, expand on it and keep the conversation going.  
  • Always model, model, model. Model more and prompt less. 
  • Don't limit your communication to merely questions or instructions - use more comments, suggestions, greetings, opinions etc. 
  • To teach your child to communicate with picture symbols, WE too must speak to the child using those SAME picture symbols. Children learn by mimicking the parent. 
  • Assume that your child is COMPETENT. It's important that you believe in his ability to learn. 
  • Give your chid TIME to respond. Wait for at least 10 to 15 seconds. 
  • Parents are the best “interventionists” for the child for lanugage development. 
  • Ensure Access: Make sure that your child has access to his AAC system at ALL times and within his arm’s reach. Before your child moves to another location, ensure that the AAC system moves with him. 
  • Be Patient: If your child is not cooperating, don’t get frustrated and take away his AAC device - this is his only means to tell you why he is not feeling up to it. 
  • Acknowledge and accept any form of communication that your child is trying to make. Do not insist on only one form of communication. 
  • Allow your child to push various buttons and explore the device. He needs time to learn. 
  • Provide your child with many, many models of how to use his AAC system – without expecting him to reciprocate! 
  • Children learn by observing how you communicate through modeling, rather than the “press this /Show me / point to / where is" approach, which creates a prompt dependent communicator.  
  • Create situations for your child to communicate with peers, not just with adults.

Communication Breakdown
  • When you are unable to understand what your child is trying to say, try not to second-guess his intentions.
  • When you are not able to understand your child, state that you don't understand him, and then try a different route.
  • When communication is breaking down, get your child to prompt the first letter of the word he is trying to say.
  • Children feel happy when they are understood.
  • When you are unable to understand your child, try to ask for clues to guess the word..e.g. what color is it ? what is it used for?

Communication Language 
  • "More" is an important word to teach your child. It helps him exercise control over the continuation of an activity.
  • Avoid flowery language for an emergent communicator. Try to keep your language simple.
  • Try to use simple and direct sentences for your child, instead of long-winded ones.
  • Greetings are an opportunity for communication!
  • Avoid using abstract language. It might be difficult to understand for a beginning communicator.
  • Avoid asking too many questions -questions are more demanding on the child.
  • Avoid excessive questions and instructions, while talking to your child; use more comments instead.
  • Comments impose no demands on the child, and instead draws their attention.
  • Many children, particularly those with social or communication delays, may not make the necessary connections needed to understand the abstract language, like the usage of idioms and metaphors. So try keeping the communication direct and simple
  • Open-ended questions may be difficult to understand for beginning communicators
  • You can use simple Yes/No questions get a response from a child, when he is not answering open-ended questions.
  • When your child is in pain, avoid giving him a lecture or using the "I told you so" approach. Divert his attention to finding a solution.
  • Open-ended questions may be difficult to understand for beginning communicators.
  • If your child doesn't respond to direct questions, try to second-guess what your child wants to say E.g. "Maybe you want to ..."
  • Try not bombard your child with too many questions. The pressure to respond can bog them down. Try using more comments instead.
  • Use simple and direct language to elicit a response from your child.
  • Try having a conversation without asking too many questions or giving too many instructions.
  • Avoid using long-winded sentences for a beginning communicator.
  • Asking open-ended questions to beginning communicators may not always help. Try offering choices instead.
  • STOP is a powerful word to teach your child. It makes him feel empowered to exercise his control - to reject an object or activity that he does not want.
  • It's good practice to comment on the activity that your child is currently engaged in. It encourages him
  • No matter what your child says, follow his lead and respond to it, even if it seems like a digression.
  • Expand on whatever your child says, by modelling at one or two words higher than his current level.
  • To draw your child's attention to the symbols, you can try the use of props such as finger puppets.
  • Pay close attention to what your child is looking at. If he is looking at something, point to it and make conversation around it. 

Communication Strategies
  • Remember to praise your child when he participates or initiates conversation.
  • Use a lot of comments in your conversation. Talk about what happened, is happening or is going to happen.
  • Observe what your child is looking at and talk about it - a peice of paper, a toy or whatever catches his fancy – and talk about it.
  • Use simple, short sentences while talking to him.
  • Listen carefully to your child's words and figure out what he is trying to say. Don't interrupt him, or prompt him, even if you already know what he's trying to say.
  • Take the focus off getting your child to talk - don't ask your child to say words.
  • communication strategies
  • Pretend in the child's play - if he gives you a spoon, act like you're drinking soup.
  • Follow your child's lead with your actions and words.
  • Interpret your child's message - put into words what you think he's trying to tell through action/sound.
  • Even if you ask questions, make sure it is not too often.
  • Combine your response to the conversation with a comment or a question.
  • When your child makes a request, follow through to completion. This lets him know that communication can get him some of the things he wants.
  • Be cautious of conversation stoppers - these are questions for which your child doesn't know the answer, are not related to your child, test your child's knowledge, or are too hard for him to answer.
  • Use words and phrases that are age appropriate.
  • Avoid asking too many questins - turn questions into comments. E.g. Instead of "Is that a dog?", you can say "Hello doggie!"
  • For every question you ask, make at least two comments.
  • Use short sentences while communicating with your child. Repeat words and phrases often.
  • Rather than repeating or rephrasing, give your child 10-15 seconds to process and respond. A pause is more powerful than anything we can do or say.
  • Avoid forcing your child to engage in an activity that he is not interested in doing, at the moment. Try attracting him to it by other means.
  • Diverting a child from his current interest to a different activity that you think is good for him may not always work.
  • Follow your child's lead to initiate and engage in conversation based on HIS current interest. Don't impose your interests on him.
  • If your child is not cooperating, dont get frustrated and take away the AAC device. That's his only means of communication.
  • Don't expect just one type of communication. Accept any type of communication the child makes.
  • In the middle of an activity, if your child gets distracted with some other object, try to be flexible and follow his interest.
  • Try not to impose your interests on your child. Try to find what interests him, follow his interests and talk about them.
  • Avoid being harsh with him if he doesn't respond to your questions or instructions.
  • Draw your child attention to an activity, by enticing him with his favorite objects, rather than thrusting it on him.
  • Try not to force your child to listen to you, when he is not interested.
  • Pay close attention to what captures your child's interest. Talk about it, even if it is unrelated to what he is currently doing.
  • Avoid reading to your child when his interest levels drop. Be flexible to go with what catches his interest.
  • Expansion of your child's communicaiton, helps build his language.
  • Expand on your child's language, by adding the missing words to form a full sentence. E.g. ball + red -> The ball is red!
  • When you are adding new words to the conversation, stress on them.
  • Ask questions starting with 'Maybe', 'I wonder why', and 'What do you think of...' so that your child is not pressurised to answer them.
  • Repeat new words often and in different circumstances.
  • Comment on what your child is doing, seeing or hearing.
  • When using self-talk and parallel talk, do not force your child to imitate what you are saying.
  • Imitate your child's actions - let him hear his words pronounced correctly back to him
  • Providing too many choices for a beginning communicator, may be difficult for him to handle.
  • Giving a choice between two items is a good way to start teaching choice making.
  • Include the option of "Different" in any choice-making- it gives the child a chance to express a preference outside the choices offered to him.
  • Engage in Self talk by using short senences to describe what YOU are DOING, SEEING or HEARING. Do this through the day.
  • Use Parallel talk to describe what your CHILD is DOING, SEEING or HEARING.
  • Whenever your child communicates in one or two words, expand on it, to build his language. Rather than correcting him explicitly, add the missing words to HIS words, to form a grammatically correct sentence. E.g. red + ball -> The ball is red!
  • While extending your child's language, introduce just one new concept at a time.
  • While introducing your child to a new word, stress on the word by using a different tone and intonation.
  • While expanding his communication, do not introuce any new concepts, but merely use your child's words to form a simple sentence.
  • If you child says something irrelevant, try to build on what he says. rather than correct him.
  • Rather than explicitly telling your child what to say, model to him what you want him to say. Children learn by observing and mimicking you.
  • You can expand your child's communication by adding a couple of missing words, when repeating his message back to him.
  • Whenever your child communicates, grab the opportunity to expand on what he says by repeating his words back to him in a grammatically correct sentence. 

Motivating Communication 
  • Tempt your child by having items of high interest within their sight but out of reach.
  • Motivate your child to communicate by leaving out necessary items that are needed to complete a task. E.g. giving ice cream in a cup, without a spoon.
  • Use "Ready, Set, Go!" just before an activity. Do this repeatedly, without any expectation of a response. Then, one time, say "Ready, Set...." and wait; the word "go" will come right out of your child's mouth.