Emergent Literacy Work in AAC Therapy Sessions

September 23, 2014 by - Leave your thoughts

Emergent Literacy Work in AAC Therapy Sessions
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We strive to use some of our therapy time to build the literacy skills with all of our beginning communicators. It’s not easy. First, because they often have little to no interest in it (at first), but mostly because our time together is quite limited. Here are some of the things we’ve been doing.

Having our clients sign in themselves (Think: name stamps, stickers, tracing, or even making a mark)

Looking for their name on their therapy room door: We make signs and print two copies. We give them one in the waiting room so that they can match it to the sample on the door.

Formatting the visual schedule so that the client does some writing (Think: check box, crossing off the activity when finished)

Picking a book or the topic: For some of clients we use the books themselves, but for most we use their AAC. It’s time consuming to program choices for the specific books, and may not give the learner enough opportunity with any one of them. Instead, we’ve moved to programming a page/screen with different topics for our therapy session. This provides them with some autonomy and helps them build a motor plan.

Reading: We’re big fans of TarHeel Reader because of the sheer volume of books appropriate for older learners at the emergent literacy level. Magazines work well for some learners, too. The key here is to make the reading experience interactive. The objective is the communication, not the print in most of our sessions. However, they are still getting positive experiences engaging in reading activities and that’s a good thing.

Rating the book: We’re often working on commenting skills, so having them tell us what they liked or even rating the book can be very productive. We’re big fans of using rating scales.

Writing about the sessions: At the end, we sometimes write about what we did. Our clients may dictate with their AAC devices while we transcribe, or use word bank writing (with an app like Abilipad or just a paper-based system).


What do you do to integrate emergent literacy skills to your therapy sessions with beginning communicators? Please share in the comments so that we can all get some fresh ideas.

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This post was written by Carole Zangari

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